Those that find themselves under a headset forty hours a week (or more) know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dispatching is a profession. It is not like any other job title that anyone could ever hold. Not even our sister and brother public safety professionals who serve as Police Officers, Firefighters, or Paramedics know truly the nature, complexities and demands of our role. I have heard it from more than a few that anyone who in those job titles can just sit down and follow what the computer says and be a dispatcher. One such believer was a smart and shrewd soul, but he couldn't look me in the eye when he said them. I am certain he knew better-- for all badges may be equal, but they are not the same.
And that leads me to my question. For those of you who know better because you have been in the seat. For those who have handled the crazy normal days and the crazy crazy days: what are YOU doing to share the nature of our profession with others? How do you advocate for what we do and who we are? Don't you dare say its not your job. Don't you dare say it's not your responsibility.
If we want to be recognized and understood as a profession it is not going to happen because we tweet, although that may help. It will not happen because we share Facebook memes. It will not happen because of joint meeting of Police and Fire Chiefs and Town Council people decide to bestow upon us our rightful status.
It will happen because we demand to participate in table top exercises. It will happen because we make a compelling argument for why we need more people. It will happen because we educate those we serve about why its not just "picking up a phone". It will happen because we make a concerted effort to be the best dispatch professional we can possibly be. There are literally thousands of ways to get involved: Pick one. And do it.
Respect is earned, even from ourselves. As the time comes for New Year's Resolutions and current year reviews, let us resolve to make this year the one where people outside our comm centers and PSAPs begin to understand what we have always known: That we are Professionals.