If you've listened to Zone 1 you've probably heard her cool but cranky style. I always picture her with eyes rolling and heavy sighs at the stupidity she has to deal with after years of dispatching. I constantly wonder what she actually looks like.
Brings back memories too. We had a dispatcher like this in Phoenix about 10 or so years ago. My friends and I never learned what her name was, but we called her Sleepy Maude, because no matter what kind of chaos was happening on the other end of that radio, Sleepy Maude was the same, nonplussed, bored sounding, jaded old dispatcher who had no doubt literally heard it all.
This is a fictional example of a typical night's traffic with Maude on the radio:
Radio: "611Xray in foot pursuit!"
Sleepy Maude: "(stifles a yawn, perhaps? who knows) 611 xray is in foot pursuit. What's your location sir?"
Radio: (gibberish, units stepping all over each other)
Sleepy Maude: (sounding bored as ever) "Units, please stop stepping on each other. 611Xray I need a location, sir."
Radio: "611Xray, huff, huff, Bell and 32nd street, eastbound!"
Sleepy Maude: (ho hum tone and all) "611Xray, I copy Bell and 32nd street, eastbound."
Radio: More units, voices all over each other, chaos, confusion, etc.
Sleepy Maude (getting somewhat annoyed now, but still as completely uninterested sounding as ever) "Units, hold your traffic! 611Xray, where are you now? The rest of you, stay off the air!" LOL...
And so on. I even heard her handle a 998 (officer involved shooting) with the same old school telephone operator attitude. Nothing fazed this old gal... nothing! And she never took guff from an officer either, not even the salty old nightshift watch commander. She was always good for a chuckle or two during late nights listening to the scanner while chasing after news stories back in the day, especially when an officer made the mistake of getting on her bad side. Good times.
I think she finally retired after a few nights on the new digital system. I heard her when they first switched over, and you could tell she REALLY hated it. She dropped off the radio shortly after that. But I'll never forget Phoenix PD's jaded old dispatcher Sleepy Maude, or whatever her real name is. Enjoy your retirement, ma'am!
There's a whole lot of truth in that. In my 39 years in the fire service, I've heard dispatchers on both ends of the spectrum. How dispatchers sound on the radio can be infectious to those on the other end. An excited dispatcher breeds excitement in responders. Those who are calm no matter what are very beneficial.
Long time ago, the Louisville Fire Department had a great dispatcher, Sam Keene. He could be handling a high rise fire with 100 people trapped and his tone of voice would be as calm as someone reading the want ads in the newspaper.
OK, no, but here's an interesting story.
I live in 016 and, of course, listen to Zone 1 pretty often. I've heard she lives here in the district, too.
Just a couple weeks ago, someone had hit their emergency key a couple times and their response to her call was a little off.
She then asked what color her hair is as though to prove they were authentic.
I didn't hear the reply, suggesting she disabled the repeater for a moment.
Perhaps we shouldn't discuss MJ's appearance.
Although, if she ever asks which way her eyes are pointed, it is safe to assume they are aimed to the heavens.
I feel sorry for her partner that has to work next to her every night & often wonder how an officer or Sgt. hasn't lost it on her, she can get obnoxious sometimes, i.e. never ask her to repeat an address. I recall 2 years ago when she went on her 2 week furlough someone asked the where she was & when the dispatcher said furlough, the entire zone was woo-hooing and cheering, the "fill in" dispatcher just laughed. #ChicagoScanner