Livermore PD Poor Radio Skills

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spacerat

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I am wondering if anyone that monitors Livermore PD is frustrated as I am?

I have been listening to Livermore dispatch for 21 years. For the last two years I have noticed very poor radio skills with one dispatcher and handful officers.

I then consulted with a friend that is a 20 year police officer and had him listen to what I was hearing. We both came to this guess of what may be happening.

Whispering Dispatcher: There is one dispatcher that speaks with so much breath in her voice that she sounds like she is working on a paid sex line. She sounds the worst when she acknowledges the radio traffic by saying "10-4", there is so much breath you can barely understand what she said. After the first sentence her voice starts to become normal and you can understand her better. I have spoken to a couple of fireman that are on the other side of her dispatching skills and they have acknowledged that have the same opinion about her dispatching skills.

The Whispering Bike Officer: There is one day shift motorcycle officer that always whispers, you can barely hear him. Sometimes even the dispatcher asks him to repeat. I do not believe it is a radio problem because I can hear the traffic in the background just fine, his voice volume is too low.

The Wanna Be Secret Service Officers: These officers reach over to the mic in its holder and speak from that position. This look conceals that they are talking on the radio. However they may look like they are talking to themselves or on their cell phone Bluetooth earpiece. Sometimes dispatch has had to ask them to repeat.

The Secret Squirrel Investigators: Not all of the Investigators do this but a few of them (not when they are hiding in a bush somewhere on a stake out) whisper into mics. Sometimes dispatch has had to ask them to repeat.

I've put on good quality headphones and it tried to hear what dispatch hears and even with the headphones some of those whispering officers are difficult to hear. Of course the other officers are listening to the traffic are not able to hear them at all. When another officer needs to know what the whispering officer said dispatch will repeat it for them. I have observed when the whispering officer needs to start communicating with other officers that they will start to talk at a normal volume (when asked) so other officers can hear them. This shows they can talk at a normal volume.

I wish I was able to get my complaint to the dispatching supervisor but it is my strong feeling it will go as energy wasted. Someone needs to get an automatic gain control on the radio system for the whispers or teach the whispers to stop whispering and talk in a professional radio voice volume level so the other officers can hear them.
 

mmckenna

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I am responsible for dispatch center equipment, radio systems and similar stuff.

I get called when there is a radio issue. While actual malfunctions do occur, the biggest issue is user error, and poor radio skills is one of the most common errors.. With newer digital systems, these sorts of issues seem to be more pronounced. Training can help, but unfortunately a lot of people that have been on the job for a while assume the know everything, and won't accept any suggestions that they need to change the way they do things. With police and fire, this becomes a safety issue.

If the officers know of the issue, I'd bet the dispatch supervisor is well aware. It's difficult to break habits, and it's harder to retrain people.

Biggest pet peeve I people that blow into the mic when they speak. Drives me nuts, makes it hard to understand what they are saying.
 

LowBat

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On the subject of pet peeves, mine is the person who starts to talk while simultaneously pushing down the transmit button on a duplex channel, resulting in cutting off their unit ID and/or first word.
 

zz0468

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These poor operating habits are common. Dispatchers sit at their consoles with the boom mic pushed out of the way so they can eat and drink. Police officers clip the speaker-mic onto their lapel and leave it there while transmitting, or worse, using the HT inside the vehicle while it's still in it's belt clip, and then complaining that 'the system' has lousy coverage.

Argh!
 

Ben96cal

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re: livermore pd

yes I know who you are talking about.. Listen to them everyday. She does sound like a PS operator. She's been there quite a long time. LP dispatch does both fire and PD and she does it more on PD. I don't know if she's trying to be a breathy dispatcher on the pd side or what her issue is.
 

RobVallejo

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I wish I was able to get my complaint to the dispatching supervisor but it is my strong feeling it will go as energy wasted.
I am confused. What is your relationship to this department?

If you are merely a citizen listening to Livermore PD via scanner, I would suggest you not make any sort of complaint. A few thoughts:

1) The equipment you are using is likely to be different than what the officers and dispatchers are using.

2) Geography can have a large impact on radio signals. Perhaps those "whispering squirrel investigators" are in a poor reception area.

3) There are forms of interference that can mimic whispering.

4) There are many reasons why an officer might choose to whisper, even in seemingly non-stakeout conditions. NONE of those reasons are likely to be transmitted over the air.

I'm sure you have probably considered these possibilities. But please also consider how a complaint would be viewed by the Livermore PD communications staff if you have no affiliation with the department and no official reason for listening:

"Car 54, dispatch. Please increase your modulation. Joe Citizen called and says he can't understand you on his scanner."

It is doubtful that anyone at Livermore PD would take you seriously.

We don't want to encourage the prevailing notion that those of us who listen to public safety agencies with scanners are NUTS, do we?

Just my humble opinion.
 
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silagi

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I have been a public safety dispatcher for a local Bay Area police department for 27 years. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. The radio is not a magic little box. It needs to be used properly to to accurately get your message across. It is not hard. Here are a few rules that so many cops (and some dispatchers) violate all the time.

1. Don't mumble. Speak up, talk clearly and enunciate.
2. Talk directly into the microphone. (yes that means pick it up off the mic holder).
3. When you want to talk, first press the PTT switch, pause one second and then start talking.

It is amazing when I know officers are violating one of these rules and I cannot understand their transmission and I have to ask them to repeat and then suddenly they come in loud and clear so I know it is not their equipment or location. They are just being sloppy on how they use the radio.

My other big pet peeve is radio discipline but that is a topic for another day.
 

phillydjdan

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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.3.6; en-us; M865 Build/HuaweiM865) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1)

Philly PD has no choice but to use thier portable radios while still holstered. They couldnt afford mobile radios for the cars...
 

Babette

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Livermore is a Crime-free Quiet Community so Shhhhush

I also tuned into the Livermore PD and kept adjusting the volume levels on my pc to the point where I installed another media player. It wasn't the hardware. I just think that it is so quiet out here that even the police have to whisper or their voices will be overheard. This is a quiet, sidewalks and elm tree community and I think that has lots to do with it. Even when you meet a police officer in person he is extremely mannerly, as if he, well, as if he isn't really a cop. I mean this really is Mayberry out here. (I live in Tracy, but I work in Livermore).
 

spacerat

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Livermore, CA
I am confused. What is your relationship to this department?

1) The equipment you are using is likely to be different than what the officers and dispatchers are using.

2) Geography can have a large impact on radio signals. Perhaps those "whispering squirrel investigators" are in a poor reception area.

3) There are forms of interference that can mimic whispering.

4) There are many reasons why an officer might choose to whisper, even in seemingly non-stakeout conditions. NONE of those reasons are likely to be transmitted over the air.

I'm sure you have probably considered these possibilities. But please also consider how a complaint would be viewed by the Livermore PD communications staff if you have no affiliation with the department and no official reason for listening:

Just my humble opinion.
I want to preference my answers with the new found information from a dispatcher that has first hand experience of my complaints.

1) Correct my equipment is different and is not as good.
2) Wrong. It has been confirmed that the officers do whisper into the mics and it is not a location issue.
3) Same answer as number 2.
4) Correct, they do choose to whisper in non-stakeout conditions.

I was never serious about filing a complaint to Livermore PD. I was just stating what I wish I could do.

The person did say that they wish they could get the whispering dispatcher and the whispering officers to improve their radio communication skills but knows that human nature and bad habits are very difficult to change in a person.
 
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