Monday, April 22, 2013

The Longest 10 Minutes

The recent events in Boston have brought people to comment on the professionalism and courage of law enforcement. Its sad that it takes a tragedy to show people the incredible things the thin line does for us every day. The big events are the only ones on the national news. The rest of the time the heroics are smaller but just as real.

During my years doing IT in public sector I spent quite a lot of time supporting law enforcement. There were times when I'd be working on equipment in a 911 dispatch center quickly backing away from the workstation as calls came in so that the dispatcher could take them. The calls were only audible to the dispatcher, of course, but the radio traffic was there for everyone to hear.

The longest 10 minutes you'll ever experience is when a call for assistance is received and emergency personnel are in route.

While you sit there knowing what's happening to the person calling for help and you're waiting for help to arrive you're stuck sitting there. Helpless.

Emergency personnel do the job because of a desire to help people. And they do that, day after day, despite the horrible things they see and deal with. It was an eye-opening experience to learn about the depth and breadth of what law enforcement and emergency personnel deal with on a daily basis that we, as citizens, are shielded from. Seeing the videos and pictures, and hearing the stories that don't get told outside of the office is frightening.

All of it is handled with professionalism and courage, and the vast majority of the time with compassion and understanding. Every single day.