Madera County Sheriff Low Volume

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KM6HK

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Regards the Madera County Sheriff main dispatch on 150.9950

I am inquiring about two issues:

1.) The system volume on the repeater (deviation) is intentionally set at a very low level..
Does anyone know why the system technicians intentionally have this setting wrong?

2.) Hiring of (DEI) female dispatchers that have little to no verbal articulation skills is amazing to listen to. The skill level of the new breed of dispatchers is so low that entire sentences are run together in incomprehensible "word blobs" . It is seems that the units in the field are relying on the MDT screen to get the necessary information to respond to any calls. as understanding the verbal information from the DEI dispatcher is a guessing game as to what is trying to be communicated.

DISCUSSION: My theory is that, as a practical reality, the critical communicated dispatch information is actually mostly handled now by use of MDT in patrol cars and cell phone The verbal over the air communication is just a brief formality that the unit is aware of any particular pending dispatch showing on MDT screens. Also my theory on low deviation that is at or below the threshold of monitors like Broadcastify therefore intentionally making that relay method useless to citizens in the field.

They should just go to encrypted P25 and forget this game playing with their analog system. There is really no fix for the DEI extreme low proficiency of the new breed of dispatchers.
 

PrivatelyJeff

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If you want to hire quality people, you must pay quality wages.
Even then it takes people who are ABLE to do the work. I’ve talked to a few dispatch supervisors in the area the OP is whining about, and the wash out rate is high. For EMS, the washout rate for dispatchers is 99%. Literally out of 100 applicants, only one will finish their probation period and less will last longer than a year.
 

AM909

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Is that high washout rate typical for the industry, or is there something specific to that area causing it? It's a pretty astonishing number.
 

mmckenna

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Is that high washout rate typical for the industry, or is there something specific to that area causing it? It's a pretty astonishing number.

Talking with our dispatch center manager, washout rates are usually in excess of 80%

Many cannot pass the back ground checks. Our PD decided that since I was working in/around dispatch, plus the encryption key handling, and everything else, I needed to have the same background check as a dispatcher. I was put through the same process. The POST 255-2 document is 23 pages long and goes into a lot of detail. I had to provide financial records, college/high school transcripts, driving record, finger prints, medical info, job history, personal history, names of friends/family. Then they went through my neighborhood and talked to them. The process takes a few months. Most people cannot pass it, and that washes out most of the applicants right there.

Then the training, which can take a year. The job stress, awful hours, etc. It all adds up and washes most of them out.

The "DEI" stuff the OP is whining about has nothing to do with it. When the washout rate is that high, it really does come down to being able to pass the background check, having the skills, and being able to put up with the stress.
 

PrivatelyJeff

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Is that high washout rate typical for the industry, or is there something specific to that area causing it? It's a pretty astonishing number.
Semi-typical. The job is tough, with long hours and a lot of stress, whether it’s law enforcement, fire or EMS. As for the one I was talking about, they are fire and EMS dispatch for multiple agencies spread over three counties and one of those counties is very busy. The metro radio operator talks nonstop for 12 hours, logging on/off units, dispatching them to calls and changing their posting locations based on what other units are doing. The center handles 500-800 calls a day for the whole area and 80% are handled by this one person on the radio. And all the dispatchers in the center have to be trained on each agencies characteristics and each agency is different. It’s also a feedback loop. Since there isn’t enough people to do the job, those that are work harder, which leads to burnout.
 

KM6HK

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The "DEI" stuff the OP is whining about has nothing to do with it.

I have been looking at the signals on my SDR-Play Spectrum Analyzer. Interestingly enough there are many anomalies,

1.) like the signals from handie-talkies in the field are commonly much more powerful into the repeater than the dispatch's signal from the office into the repeater during same QSO with that particular handle.

2.) a field unit will ask for a "10-9?", then the dispatcher (appears to) swing the mic much closer to her face and repeat the transmission at a blaring volume with a sort of arrogant and annoyed tone of voice, so, clearly, the personnel are aware of the problem.

3.) It is my opinion that this whole thing is somewhat an issue of (lack of) management. The hired hands are doing their own thing. The unions play a part in this. The culture now is different from when I used to have a job. In the old days we did what the boss said, not so much any more!

A good friend of mine used to be the head technician for Tulare County, until he got so sick of all the political bull**** that he quit and moved to Montana and took over a county system there where he is very happy. He used to rigorously test the Tulare system for exact signal level and balance throughout all the radios and repeaters, he was a professional. Not too many of those around anymore. Now, to get along with the new society, they are all just cogs in the DEI world.

maybe this has something to do with it.: On September 10, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1945 (AB 1945),
-and-
CSLEA and CHP-PSDA Welcome New Dispatchers to Union Membership
 
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mmckenna

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I have been looking at the signals on my SDR-Play Spectrum Analyzer. Interestingly enough there are many anomalies,

1.) like the signals from handie-talkies in the field are commonly much more powerful into the repeater than the dispatch's signal from the office into the repeater during same QSO with that particular handle.

2.) a field unit will ask for a "10-9?", then the dispatcher (appears to) swing the mic much closer to her face and repeat the transmission at a blaring volume with a sort of arrogant and annoyed tone of voice, so, clearly, the personnel are aware of the problem.

Some dispatchers wear headsets with a mic and that usually resolves this issue. Some dispatch centers don't like headsets since each dispatcher requires their own headset for obvious sanitary reasons. That leaves the dispatcher using a gooseneck mic, which usually doesn't work out well because the dispatchers have large desks with a lot of computers to deal with. We went through this until the dispatch center manager decided to fix it.

So, usually not an individual dispatcher issue necessarily, although it does help if they speak directly into the mic. More often than not, it's a management issue because they don't want to spend money on the correct tools for the job.

3.) It is my opinion that this whole thing is somewhat an issue of (lack of) management. The hired hands are doing their own thing. The unions play a part in this. The culture now is different from when I used to have a job. In the old days we did what the boss said, not so much any more!

The job of a dispatcher has changed a lot in the last few years. A lot of extra work, lots of multitasking, and often the "boss" doesn't provide the correct tools for the job.

A good friend of mine used to be the head technician for Tulare County, until he got so sick of all the political bull**** that he quit and moved to Montana and took over a county system there where he is very happy. He used to rigorously test the Tulare system for exact signal level and balance throughout all the radios and repeaters, he was a professional. Not too many of those around anymore. Now, to get along with the new society, they are all just cogs in the DEI world.

Glad to hear he's happy where he is. I wish more people would do that. If someone is unhappy with their job, no reason for them to stick around and make everyone else miserable.

maybe this has something to do with it.: On September 10, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1945 (AB 1945),

Unlikely. That was something that APCO pushed for and finally accomplished a few years back. Not all states have adopted it yet, but many have. Dispatchers were classified by the US Department of Labor as "clerical" workers, and the pay was set for that job description. It resulted in a lot of municipalities treating dispatchers like secretaries, even though the jobs were a lot different. The AB1945 made is easier for dispatchers to get paid more appropriately for the work they were actually doing.

-and-
CSLEA and CHP-PSDA Welcome New Dispatchers to Union Membership

See above. The job classification thing was left over from decades ago and needed to be addressed. I've not hear of any dispatcher or public safety agency that is upset with this change. Any good law enforcement officer, fire fighter or EMT/Paramedic will understand the important role the dispatcher plays. This change should have happened a long time ago.
 

garyscot

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Retired deputy sheriff, with a history of building mountain top repeaters , system integration and building a fire dispatch center as a side hustle years ago. I came across your post and currently live in Oakhurst, Madera Co. Madera is a common victim of 1) poor radio training, 2) poor dispatcher & officer understanding of VHF 2-way radio characteristics and 3) sign of the times ability to grab & hire the people at a price. Madera county is not South Central Los Angeles or CHP Stockton Dispatch Center, so they don't get expert quick thinking and workflow shuffling dispatcher training.

Their VHF conventional repeater works reasonably well and seems to be well maintained by whomever does their work. Ever since narrow banding became the law accurate mobile/ portable transmitter adjustment, training and testing has become critical in every day use. They (by my ear) have an assortment of radios. Low audio (as seen on my IFR communications tester) many times is about 1 Kc and and is in fact too low.

But it seems that it is a user problem more than narrow banding requirement (1/2 the original channel assigned 5 Kc audio quality) or comm shop adjustments. Sometimes their audio sounds fine, others a whisper just above their CTCSS tone level. The quality of their dispatcher headsets/ mic placement seems to be marginal to poor. Their dispatchers don't listen to themselves on the output, so don't know they sound like you know what. Mobiles the same thing. Deputies have little understanding that a speaker-mic'd portable buried on their belt at 15 miles and two hilly ridges later is not going to get out very well. This generation has become so used to cellphones and MDTs that 2-way use is not a training or an understanding priority.
 

KM6HK

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This generation has become so used to cellphones and MDTs that 2-way use is not a training or an understanding priority.
Thank you for your thoughts !. The reason I used the catch-phrase "DEI" in my OP is that we are (like it or not) in the age of the "New America, DEI Generation". Known inferior hires are placed into the system just to check a box next to some race, religion, skin color, or sex orientation. By current social training, a selection "must" be made from a member of an entire DEI oriented and trained Generation that has lessened skill sets and training, that "person" is dropped into a critical part of government operated life support systems. This happens because management now accepts and goes along with the DEI concept, now a mandatory part of the "New America" ...

In my estimation, it is the responsibility of "management to manage". So I am going to lay off the lack of any movement of a fix for this issue to upper level management. Management should identify the problem and proceed with a plan to fix it. All your points you note in your post are part of this fix: They need to tackle each one. ( 1) poor radio training, 2) poor dispatcher & officer understanding of VHF 2-way radio characteristics and 3) sign of the times ability to grab & hire the people at a price. 4.) comm shop deviation adjustments across a bunch of various radios of different manufacture. etc. etc.. it's a lot of work to fix all this, but isn't that what we pay management to do?

I want to make it very clear that i am also a member of the community here in Madera. I have had many interactions with the dept over the years I have lived here. I have the highest respect for the them. Their skill set on the street is the top notch. How the radio part fell through the cracks I don't know, but again, it is the responsibility of "management to manage". The balls in their court. Let's hope something gets done about it. I don't think I am speaking out of turn here. I am a tax paying property owner in this county, I don't think it is too un reasonable to ask for skilful use of my dollars by the management. Madera is going through growing pains and a transition from a bunch of good 'ol boys, farmers, to big city problems. It is off topic, but as an example I will sight the recent issues at Madera Valley Children's which is an example of that. The management over there decided rather than improve staffing and equipment restock they would pay a single CEO over $5million in yearly salary at the same time lowering the standby pay of critical medical personal to under $8/hour . This is the world we now live in.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Regards the Madera County Sheriff main dispatch on 150.9950

I am inquiring about two issues:

1.) The system volume on the repeater (deviation) is intentionally set at a very low level..
Does anyone know why the system technicians intentionally have this setting wrong?

2.) Hiring of (DEI) female dispatchers that have little to no verbal articulation skills is amazing to listen to. The skill level of the new breed of dispatchers is so low that entire sentences are run together in incomprehensible "word blobs" . It is seems that the units in the field are relying on the MDT screen to get the necessary information to respond to any calls. as understanding the verbal information from the DEI dispatcher is a guessing game as to what is trying to be communicated.

DISCUSSION: My theory is that, as a practical reality, the critical communicated dispatch information is actually mostly handled now by use of MDT in patrol cars and cell phone The verbal over the air communication is just a brief formality that the unit is aware of any particular pending dispatch showing on MDT screens. Also my theory on low deviation that is at or below the threshold of monitors like Broadcastify therefore intentionally making that relay method useless to citizens in the field.

They should just go to encrypted P25 and forget this game playing with their analog system. There is really no fix for the DEI extreme low proficiency of the new breed of dispatchers.

I am assuming this is an analog system, so the P25 elephant in the room does not apply. What does apply is the FCC /\/\andated narrowbanding initiative that benefited a lot of /\/\manufacturers.

1) The CW ID may be set low because users in the field must crank volume up and don't want to be blasted or give away their position during surveillance.

2) As mmckenna says, the DEI thing is entirely hogwash. The word blob thing is real. We have it here locally on a P25 system and the result is indiscernible mush. The field units are either faking it or as you said, have same info on the MDT. P25 won't fix this. The dispatcher selection process should focus more on having a "Radio Voice" and less on teenage indiscretions like smoking weed. ..

I happened to be in the Madera County Dispatch center some decades ago (2009?) and the system was rather ancient. Not the worst but pretty bad like a few others in Central Valley. Maybe the radio system is poorly maintained. That seemed to be a trend at the time.

INSERT PICTURE OF ANGRY OLD WHITE MAN SHAKING FIST AT DEI CLOUD HERE>>>>
 

mmckenna

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INSERT PICTURE OF ANGRY OLD WHITE MAN SHAKING FIST AT DEI CLOUD HERE>>>>

As a manager in public sector I've done a lot of hiring over the last 26 years. The DEI stuff has never come into play. Job descriptions and requirements are written well enough that decisions are made on the capability of the applicant.

But, sure, whatever the issue, DEI is obviously to blame. Couldn't possibly be anything else.
 

es93546

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I'm not following this thread very well as I don't know what "DEI" is. I'll take a guess given the context in which it is used. How about "Diversity, Education and Inclusion." Someone let me know, otherwise I will unfollow what would otherwise be an interesting thread. "Grumble, Grumble and Grumble" there are so many abbreviations popping up all the time, I guess I'm that old guy shaking his fists at the sky.
 

vagrant

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A good friend of mine used to be the head technician for Tulare County, until he got so sick of all the political bull**** that he quit and moved to Montana and took over a county system there where he is very happy. He used to rigorously test the Tulare system for exact signal level and balance throughout all the radios and repeaters, he was a professional. Not too many of those around anymore. Now, to get along with the new society, they are all just cogs in the DEI world.
Hmm...I wonder if that is the same guy that before he even started working at that job in Montana, he was arrested for saying he was the new sheriff. Is that the same guy? Is that true? Is the guy you mention actually working now at that job, did he ever, after the incident? Perhaps I am thinking of someone else.

Anyways, to clarify some things I am a WMA. I had just met and spoke with two other WMA's around five years ago telling them about "amateur" repeater systems I had worked on. We were all at an ARRL field day event, or something. Anyways, they then began to advise me they worked/represented a Madera council member, or whomever in charge of something with Madera. They handed me his card, he was also a WMA. They then began to tell me about the trouble their repeater system and loss of contact with their officers in the field at times and asked if I would be interested in working on their system. They seemed really keen for me to be involved. ( Me, an amateur radio operator enjoying a hobby )

Are you f**king kidding me? Is what I first thought to myself. Besides the dozen other questions that popped into my head a half second later, I just wanted that conversation to end. Who were these clowns and did this guy on the card know they were soliciting non-professionals to work on a system? I called the guy on the card, but did not receive a reply. I left a voicemail explaining what had happened.

Also, I had to look up DEI after reading this thread. I guess I'm not hip to that diatribe.

Anyways, the first responders and citizens of Madera county need some serious help.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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I'm not following this thread very well as I don't know what "DEI" is. I'll take a guess given the context in which it is used. How about "Diversity, Education and Inclusion." Someone let me know, otherwise I will unfollow what would otherwise be an interesting thread. "Grumble, Grumble and Grumble" there are so many abbreviations popping up all the time, I guess I'm that old guy shaking his fists at the sky.

That is the correct definition. Not sure what WMA is, still guessing. White Male, Angry?
 
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RFI-EMI-GUY

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(snip) They then began to tell me about the trouble their repeater system and loss of contact with their officers in the field at times and asked if I would be interested in working on their system. They seemed really keen for me to be involved. ( Me, an amateur radio operator enjoying a hobby )

Snip)

Anyways, the first responders and citizens of Madera county need some serious help.

About 2009, I was doing an interoperability survey in the Central Valley. This included interviewing various folks in emergency management and physically inspecting the communications infrastructure.

So I have an appointment at a local PD to inspect the radio gear. I arrive a few minutes early, note that the radio "tower" appears to be a short telephone pole with some VHF antennas on it.

Inside the dispatch center I note that it is bright, well painted, very new looking consoles, CAD and furniture. Cheery dispatchers.

I am directed to the "radio room" where I meet the technician. He apologizes and says he is very tired, being up all night 14 hours or so, fixing the radio gear. Unlike the fresh appearance of the dispatch room, I now find myself looking at a very cluttered, dingy 1950's "shack" full of old Civil Defense relics and three tired looking MSR-2000's.

I ask the technician some questions as to the frequency assignments of the MSR-2000's and quickly learn that they are all the same station.

Indeed, one cabinet is the transmitter, the second the receiver, and the third provides a power supply for the other two. The RF components of the system were grafted from three relics. Wired together to keep the system on the air. The technician explains the city had no budget in the "Dispatch Upgrade" to replace the ancient RF stations.
 

vagrant

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I have been inside the new-ish communications room of the city I live in that was built over two decades ago. It is fantastic with fail-over repeaters waiting to go on rows of racks that handle communications for other agencies as well. It looked wonderful. I have also been inside the extremely modest shack where that same older repeater system resided. While many things start out modestly, it is wild to think a system like the one you described was around five years ago, or even to this day.

Signed,
white male angry (that's funny)
 
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