Virginia Szatkowski

Story Vault

"The biggest impact on my career was a call I took in which a caller told me that a young adult male was standing on top of a high-rise hotel, acting like he was going to jump. It was right after shift change and most of the officers were still at the police station after morning briefing, which was coincidentally, only 4 blocks from the jumper. I forwarded the call to be dispatched; the dispatcher held it. I never did find out why because back in those days, we didn't do after-action reports after bad calls. As I was thinking to myself that she'd better hurry up and get some officers started that way, I received the second call from the original caller who was now calling to advise that the guy had just jumped. This call in particular impacted my career because it could have gone so many different ways, but in this instance, it went the worse way imaginable. Even now in my role as Training Coordinator for my agency, that particular call is in the back of my mind as I go over descision making, standards, speed of dispatching, moral implications, stress-management, and many other faucets of calltaking with the new hires."

- Virginia Szatkowski, City of Lawton