Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. I take the Juneau Police Dept seriously, as others around me do as well. I see a lot of negative feedback from Juneau Police officers and other staff. I think that the Ask a Dispatcher page is a great idea. I have noticed in the last few weeks that whomever answers the questions on this link is getting rather silly and unprofessional.
As a Juneau-Ite, it would seem that anything related to law, justice, or criminal advice, should be taken seriously and not have added humor. This is a data base where Juneau can ask a dispatcher questions that one would ask directly. I would be astounded if I called the non life threatening number at Juneau Police Dept and was given a Dear Abby response to a serious question.
Dear Juneau Resident,
I see your point that legal matters are serious. Still, many people have told us they love our responses and 'have laughed so hard they almost fell off their chair.' Maybe what one person found hilarious another found irreverent. For that, I apologize. We are trying to find just the right tone for a wide range of people. Unprofessionalism was certainly not the goal and your feedback is appreciated. If other readers want 'Ask A Dispatcher' to get more serious, I hope they also write to us and let us know.
One college journalism professor probably said it best when he advised budding writers to take the job seriously, but cautioned them not to take themselves too seriously. That is the balance 'Ask A Dispatcher' has been trying to strike. Our committment to the job and the citizens of Juneau is very serious, we just don't want to take ourselves too seriously. I am sorry we missed the mark with you.
We debate what is appropriate for this service, what is funny. We disagree regularly. Humor slips in because it is very much a part of how emergency responders cope with what they see every day. When your work brings you into contact with abused kids, seemingly unsolvable problems stemming from substance abuse, and traumatic injuries to name a few, finding humor in non life and death situations gives responders a shot at being able to do this job for 20+ years. That humor can absolutely go too far.
We are going to keep trying to find the best words to address each question. Please continue to tell us what works for you and what doesn't.