Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Small Town Worries Dispatched Professionally But Clumsily

Wilton Manors calls itself the Island City. 

That is quite true both literally and figuratively.   We are surrounded by the Middle river that forks at the west and flows to the east and the Intracoastal.

We're our own little world here.  That is how we like it.  Fort Lauderdale on three sides, Oakland Park on the North.  That river makes a good fence, and good fences make good neighbors.

Getting up early you see things that happen before anyone else.   We Dog Walkers are used by police departments sometimes as a result for when something happens.  I took mine out as usual around 6:30 listening to an Old Time Radio Show but not before being confused by the low water pressure.

Shrugging, I took Mrs Dog out the front door and she dragged me east up the block.  I followed after her seeing nothing and nobody of any concern, all was well.

Until I got to the Food Bank at Poverello.  They had just closed and moved over to Dixie Highway, and the Thrift will be moving on June 1. 

It looked odd that I saw a puddle and heard running water over the now ending radio show.  As I got closer to the back lot I noticed that water was pouring from the sprinkler system in torrents.

In this bad economy, lowlifes everywhere are preying on people and businesses causing damage everywhere.  At this particular time, Broward County has a problem with one lowlife going around breaking transfer valves off of private sprinkler systems, leaving massive leaks everywhere.   Torrents of water wasting its way down the drain in a Water Crisis.

The police know that there is someone doing it, they have a bad security camera picture of the guy and they are looking.  You can't fault the police because they're doing their job.  In fact, one of the benefits of living in a small city is that you know the police department, or almost every one of them.   Without fail, I've been treated well, and with respect and professionalism.

The problem was that today I spotted the aftermath of a crime, and the crime scene needed to be secured.  With that water pouring out, I had almost no water pressure since I'm on the same leg of the water system as the shopping center as is this half of the Central Area of Wilton Manors.

I called the Police.  Actually I called the front desk as of 7:01 when we found the phone number and knew that we'd get "One Of Our Guys instead of Fort Lauderdale". 

Why was that a problem?  Well strictly speaking it wasn't.  I was handled efficiently by the front desk.  The person forwarded me to the dispatch and then I was handled professionally by them. 

Dispatch was farmed out to Fort Lauderdale years ago as a cost cutting measure.  Universally I hear the same grumble.  It isn't really a problem, more of an observation and one that probably won't ever get solved unless they hire someone who knows us better.  You see, everyone from Wilton Manors who contacts Dispatch ends up speaking with someone from Fort Lauderdale.  They generally do not know our little patch of paradise so you have to give them directions.  At 7:01 AM nobody is at their best on the phone with an excitement like this so I am sure that I fumbled through explaining where this particular water feature is, but I was left with a feeling that it wasn't quite there.  

Like I said, it's a small city and Wilton Manors won't be reclaiming dispatch any time soon.   We are just too small.  With GPS technology and mapping software, this should be getting better as time goes on, so Patience is the solution.  For the most part its really just a mental ten count when you talk to the police, on your part and on the part of the dispatchers.  It's a hard job and not a job for everyone since you have to be right every time and every day.  If you aren't you will have some fool on a blog writing about it or worse. 

I will say that Dispatch handled things and all was well.

With my water feature problem, the solution happened in less than 30 minutes.   Kevin called Director of Public Works directly who has his caller ID and Dave A got the job done and the water pressure is back on my corner of paradise.  I guess it's all part of living in a small town of 12000.  You can't do everything, but calling the right person helps.

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