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Editor's Desk: The Rush to Judgment

We're hearing a lot in the media these days about police brutality, about the militarization of police, about racism and all of the ugly accusations that confront law enforcement, particularly in the wake of events on Ferguson, Missouri, which is experiencing a second week of rioting and violence against police in the wake of a shooting of a young, unarmed black man by a white police officer...

25 Years of 9-1-1 Magazine

This last winter marked the 25th Anniversary of 9-1-1 Magazine - a quarter century since this independent journal first saw the light of print and paper. And while it has somewhat reluctantly left its printed origins behind in favor of the light of modern electronically pixilated e-publishing on the World Wide Web, its inherent mission statement hasn't changed all that much...

Incident Command System: The Next Generation?

Designated the Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS), its developers depict it as "a combination of tools, technologies, and an innovative concept of operations for emergency response." It's what a lot of us in public safety have been waiting for since laptops and mobile computers first found a place inside our command centers, mobile command vehicles, and chief officers' vehicles

THE CALL: 9-1-1 Goes Hollywood - The Dispatcher as Action Hero

I just got back from seeing THE CALL, the first movie thriller to feature a 9-1-1 dispatcher as its central protagonist. While not without criticisms, I enjoyed the movie and felt gratified to be able to cheer the film for its positive image of the public safety telecommunicator in a heroic role of action. Xena, step aside

The Silence of the Innocents

Beyond my grief for the children and families of Newtown is a deep concern for the public safety responders of Newtown and the police, fire, and EMS dispatchers who shared their response and its aftermath... dispatchers who may not have witnessed directly but felt the event just as keenly in the voices of 9-1-1 callers and response units from the scene.

Eleven Years After, the Bell Still Tolls

For those of us in the 9-1-1 business, professionals in the realm of public safety communications, September 11th has a very unique ring. It tolls with the low, baritone gong of the funeral procession, since so many of our brothers and sisters in the first responder community perished as a result of those heinous acts of warfare against our country and our way of life. We, who have dedicated ourselves or at least entered into a profession whereby our mission is to help people during...

The Dark Mind Descends: The Aurora Movie Shootings

Within moments of the awful shooting spree in which 71 people were shot (12 fatally) as they watched the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, in Aurora, Colorado, news had taken wing and spread across the Internet. A rushing wave of incredulity and sorrow swept across social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as those of us still up after midnight read with heartache and horror what transpired in the flickering darkness of Aurora's Century 16 Theater.

Fear Itself

From our May 2005 issue: As dispatchers, we are merchants of fear - not that we vend it like some ghoulish retailer on a shadowy corner of Diagon Alley - but that we confront it hourly in the manner of many of our callers, those whose lives have reached some terrifying consequence requiring the aid of police, fire, or medics... But now, with the very real potentiality of terrorist events in our neighborhoods, an even more potent fear of the unknown is taking root, encouraging many more...

Scanning - Overheard on a Dark and Very Busy Dispatcher's Night

"Six-One-Charley-Five, respond on a domestic disturbance. Report of a male beating a woman with a..." *squelch* "...rabid ferret, last seen in caller's back yard, on top of a..."

Night of the Living Mob

Originally published in much shorter form in our August, 2008 issue. The issue remains relevant since I wrote this: on July 4,2010 police and firefighters in Alton, Illinois responding to a fireworks complaint were attacked by a crowd of several hundred people who shot large bottle rockets at them; in August 2011, fire crews in Salford and Manchester, England, were attacked by mobs inflamed by riots; on January 9, 2012, Detroit-area firefighters were attacked by a rioting crowd after...

The Dragon that Lurks in Shadows

This is by far the weirdest editorial I wrote for 9-1-1 magazine. A longtime aficionado of the writing of H.P. Lovecraft (and an occasional writer of that type of weird fantasy fiction), I borrowed some ideas from one of his stories to make an oblique comment on negativity and cynicism in the 9-1-1 Center... I thought it would be interesting to revisit it here, as its perspective is still relevant and its narrative style even more regarded in literary circles.

One Year Later

The world changed in a profound way on September 11th. We were victimized, in a terrible, unimaginable and, for those of us in public safety, in a very personal way. Even a year later, each of us can certainly remember in vivid detail our activities, our thoughts, our feelings on that terrible Tuesday morning.

United 93

Watching UNITED 93, the film about the passengers who fought back against terrorists and prevented them from crashing the plane into the White House or US Capitol building, is quite an emotional experience, especially for those of us in public safety and to whom the events of 9/11 resonate with an especially personal clarity.

091101

The date was supposed to be our celebration, our moment to recognize to the efforts of 9-1-1 and emergency dispatchers across our nation. Instead, it became a day of incomprehensible horror. Most of us, if we weren't in the epicenter of the events, watched our TV screens with growing incredulity as those awful images engraved themselves with bloody clarity permanently upon our collective psyche.

091201+

For many, those events, especially those in Manhattan, seemed insurmountable, incredulous, impossible to respond to with any means other than chaos. But there was order in the midst of calamity, an appropriate response was mounted and managed, and diverse responders from many disciplines came together to aid each other. In this issue we focus on the days that followed, examining the aftermath and recovery that followed the dreadful hours of that unforgettable day.

Ten Years After: Thoughts on 091111

What has changed in the ten years since 9/11?

NYC firefighters not invited to 10th anniv of 9/11 at Ground Zero

In a report posted by the New York Daily News, first responders will not be invited to this year's 9/11 ceremony at Ground Zero. That's the word from city officials who say there isn't enough room for the tens of thousands of firefighters, police and other rescue workers.

"In an Emergency, Twitter 9-1-1"

While 9-1-1 Centers gradually become more accustomed to using the Internet (governed by local protocol and SOPs to protect against misuse) as a valuable tool in its arsenal of information management resources, the use of these social networking services has until very recently been considered inappropriate...

Our Week

With National Public Safety Telecommunications Week being celebrated each April, it's worth taking a look at the job we've been doing.

Navigating the Portal to Public Safety Communications

We hope you've found 9-1-1 Magazine's new incarnation as emergency communications' first Web Portal valuable and informative. We've tried very hard to provide the same sense of articulate vision and presentation about public safety communications technology and operations that we did in nearly a quarter century of existence as a print publication...

Spinning, Spinning, Spinning

From Jul/Aug 1997 issue: All of us in dispatch are awed by the challenges that faced the Colorado telecommunicators... And as crime perpetuates crime and the darkness that exists in so many young souls prepared no doubt to writhe into another tragedy someday yet to come, we grieve for Jefferson County, we pray for our own children, and as we wonder just how recklessly this world is spinning out of control...

Editor's Desk: Resolution

There's another meaning for the word "resolution," and that is "image resolution," a measurement of photographic clarity, which describes the detail an image holds... This kind of resolution - clarity - can be valuable in the workplace (especially in public safety, where lives depend on the keenness of our perspective)...

The New 9-1-1 Portal

For more than 23 years, 9-1-1 MAGAZINE provided valuable information, enhancing the performance of our public-safety communications professionals. Recent changes in the economic atmosphere brought the suspension of our print version.

 
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