Monday, February 14, 2011

Ah, the joys of citizen complaints

So one of my officers comes in and tells me to expect a complaint call any moment. Oh, Joy.

Having just had an encounter of the unsatisfactory kind with a citizen, he's following the time-honored protocol of racing back to the sergeant to get his own side in first.
They learn so fast, these new college-educated officers...

Anyway, he tells me about how he stopped this guy, and right from the get-go, the guy was all bluster and attitude. Now my guy is professional and I consider him to be one of my best, but even he has a boiling point, and this loudmouth finally reached it and got my guy pretty hot, too. So the stop ended with my guy handing out a few well-deserved citations, all of which were based on observed violations committed before the discussion got heated, and he sent the guy on his way after giving him his name, my name, and the station phone number, all of which he is required to do under our department's policy when citizens request it.

After hearing about the stop from my guy--someone that I tend to believe because I've known him for a while and I know how he deals with people (like I said, he's one of my top officers), I come to the conclusion that the guy he'd dealt with is basically just some sort of an asshole. Still, assholes call to complain just like regular people do, and it's my job to listen to the complaints and take appropriate action.


A few minutes later, the phone rings. My stalwart officer, my consumate professional, picks up the phone and gives the department name and his own per our policy.

A few seconds go by. He looks a bit peeved. He hits the "Hold" button and hangs the phone back up.
"Hey sarge...it's that cocksucker that I was telling you about. He's on Hold for you."

Only the guy is not on hold. My officer--one that until a minute ago I'd considered one of my best and brightest--had mistakenly hit the Speakerphone button instead of Hold.

And now the phone nearly explodes off the wall. "WHAT?! What did you just call me?! Did you call me a cocksucker?! How dare you! I'll....

Striking like lightning, my officer reaches out, picks up the phone handset, and drops it onto the cradle again, cutting off the call.

"Whoops. Sorry about that, Sarge."

I figure that he'll either call back here tonight, or else he'll call into the Chief's office tomorrow. And as it's been a few hours now and he hasn't called here, I'm already working on my latest "Dear Chief" memo.
Hopefully he'll read his memos before attending to his messages so I can at least get my side in first.

15 comments:

Joe Allen said...

Reminds me of the old lady in the grocery store who asked the stock boy if she could buy just half a head of lettuce. He told her it was against store policy, but she kept insisting that they should cut it in half for her.

Finally, the frustrated stock boy went to find the manager. "Sir, there's a cheap old bitch out there who wants us to sell her half a head of lettuce..." About this time he realizes that she has followed him and is standing right behind him.

Without missing a beat, he continued: "fortunately, this kind lady has offered to take the other half."

TechnicalBuddha said...

Nearly fell out of my chair laughing so hard at this.

I just hope your Chief has the same sense of humor.

Yellow said...

ahh the ability to play dumb might work in this one too :) Good luck, hope you get your side in first.

kinginyellow said...

Most embarrassing. I have done this before...not a fun conversation to have to have with the boss......

Garey Mckee said...

Wether you press the hold button or the speaker phone button, a cocksucker is still a cocksucker.

Officer Tex said...

So, what did Chief have to say about it?

Jay said...

There is a saying "An evesdropper never hears anything good about himself" It sort of fits.
Good luck with this one. Hopefully this idiot will realize his part in all this but I doubt it.

Sergeant Krupke said...

The guy did call back in during normal business hours, but fortunately I got my two cents in first.

Yes, it was a touch unprofessional of my guy, but it was an honest if regrettable mistake, and he was talking ABOUT the guy, not TO him when he said what he did. It was unfortunate but not intentional, and the Chief being somewhat of a decent fellow, he told the guy that "corrective action would be taken" and then he let me handle the corrective action, which basically consisted of me telling my guy to smarten up and learn how to use a phone. He also told the guy that complaints notwithstanding, his tickets aren't getting voided by us and is he wants them dismissed (his real motive for his complaint) he needs to appear in court and contest them on the merits.

In sum, all's well that ends well. No harm, no foul.

Tom said...

so funny!

The Grumpy Dispatcher said...

Oops. Laughed out loud. Turned a few heads this way. Carry on, folks, nothing to see here.

Mistakes like that are excellent training opportunities. Your guy will NEVER make that mistake again, triple-checking he hit the right button from now on. AND, every single person he helps train for the rest of his career will be drilled to do the same.

LOL!!!

BunnyO said...

I'm a day late and a dollar short on this one, but thank you so much for making me laugh my ass off today. I was ready to rip someone's head off here in Corporate America, but I think my mood has eased!!! :) PS- Joe Allen, LOVE the lettuce story.. HILARIOUS!

bwebster said...

OK, I just about fell off my kitchen stool laughing after reading that. Be sure to let us know if the guy calls back. :-)

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Hey, like I haven't field ANY of those complaints before. In my department complaints stem from two primary venues: "attitude" and driving.

BZ

SparkySanDiego said...

I had to laugh out loud. Brings back so many memories of similar stories as my guys would break land speed records to get to me before the citizen could dial my number.

I need to get a memo off to my Lieutenant about one from yesterday. One of my guys let the citizen/victim get under his skin and called the guy an "asshole" under his breath as he walked out of the business. When the guy called me he was still acting like an asshole and after listening to his ranting for 15 minutes, I appologized to him for his being an asshole and assured him I would talk to the officer.

L.A. Sorensen said...

I'm much more than a day late and a dollar short, but just had to share. I'm a dispatcher and we had just changed to new headsets in our comm center. The old ones had a thin, plastic tube for the mic and you could just plug the end of it with your thumb to kind of mute it. I tried this with the new noise reduction headseats not realizing that the new, rather flat mouthpiece had openings on either side to transmit sound. I had a caller who was understandably agitated at her situation and the deputies were taking a loooooong time getting to the call. Of course it was one of those calls where I had to keep the caller on the line. It had been a rough night (aren't they all?) and my fuse was short. The lady wasn't happy, I wasn't happy and she started to get pretty short with me. I covered the mic (I thought) and said to my partner across the room "Hey, do you have an ETA? This lady is getting snarky." You can guess what happened. Loud screech in my ear from the caller, me back pedaling furiously and then a nice chat with my supervisor about keeping my opinions to myself. Considering I was really thinking the lady was a name that rhymes with stitch, I thought I thought I did pretty good just letting "snarky" slip, but oh well.