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Time to recognize unsung heroes

We have so many functions within the Boulder City Police Department, from school resource officers to road patrol to the detective bureau. The work that they do keeps Boulder City among the “Safest Cities in Nevada” (newhomesource.com, alarm.com) year after year. One unit is the backbone of our public safety response: Public Safety Dispatchers.

Make no mistake: their work is more than answering phones. When you dial 911, you are connected to highly-trained individuals with expertise in taking a variety of calls. In a matter of seconds, the dispatcher is calmly taking information from the caller and deciding how to respond. They turn that information into action, sending police, fire and/or paramedics to the call for help. The safety of our first responders relies on the quality and accuracy of information obtained from those who contact the emergency communications center.

They are the vital link for our police officers, firefighters and paramedics by monitoring their activities by radio, phone or computer, providing them information and ensuring their safety. They help track down wanted criminals, control or extinguish fires, and advise on treatment of patients. Their ability to quickly and calmly deliver instructions (such as CPR or how to dislodge food when someone is choking) can be the difference between life and death.

Dispatchers in Nevada must complete a full background check, a 16-week safety course, and be certified in CPR, emergency medical dispatching, call assessment, fire dispatching and police dispatching. Certifications must be updated every two years.

These factors, as well as the stress of life-or-death situations, make it tough to recruit and retain good dispatchers.

Dispatch centers may receive repeated calls for help at an accident scene, as many passers-by call 911. Every call must be answered – quite the challenge when there are only two dispatchers on a shift. Much like other workplaces, when one person calls in sick or goes on vacation, it can be difficult for others who take up the extra work.

Boulder City recognizes these challenges and is entering into an agreement with the National Park Service to move our dispatch center into their facility. Our Boulder City dispatchers will work side-by-side with Park Service dispatchers. This would allow for overlap of trained staff, which can be critical in a large-scale emergency, as well as provide the resources and technology needed to enhance effectiveness.

It’s time we recognize these unsung heroes. During the second week of April every year since 1981, we celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunicators/Dispatchers Appreciation Week. This year, it runs April 14-20. Boulder City dispatchers show compassion, understanding and professionalism during the performance of their job. I truly appreciate their hard work and dedication.

The exact same week, we celebrate National Animal Control Officers (ACO’s) Week. Animal Control is a function of the Boulder City Police Department.

In Boulder City, Animal Control also oversees the animal shelter. In 2023, 358 domestic animals came through the animal shelter, either picked up by our ACOs or surrendered by their owners. A total of 237 animals were returned to the owners; 116 were adopted into new homes. Sadly, some of the animals that entered the shelter were too sick or too aggressive to be adopted and were humanely euthanized. This low rate qualifies our shelter as a “No Kill” Shelter (90% save rate qualifies). Animal Control also investigates dog bite cases.

Our ACO’s work very closely with Boulder City Police. Two weeks ago, BCPD and Animal Control responded to a tip regarding suspected animal abuse/hoarding inside a car driving in Boulder City. Their efforts saved 40 guinea pigs and rabbits held in luggage and plastic totes in the suspects’ car. Through the actions of our first responders that day, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police were able to recover more than 50 animals being kept in the suspects’ home and in a hotel room.

Dealing with distressed animals can be difficult, even dangerous. Our ACO’s handle their duties with utmost respect and professionalism. The efforts of our ACO’s are commendable, and I appreciate their perseverance and commitment.

Alumni events, marriage and a real Nazi

Ron’s column from a few weeks ago inspired me to tell a story about a weird event from my past. Mine is not as exciting as his in that there is no wrestler named Silo Sam. But there is at least one Nazi. And, no, not the current “I disagree with your politics so you are a Nazi” version. An actual card-carrying member of the party.

Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial to Boulder City?

Veterans’ memorials can be found all over the Silver State. They are well deserved. They honor individuals who served the nation, and also commemorate battles and events regarding the many military anniversaries in Nevada.

City manager bids fond farewell

I may be leaving Boulder City, but it was not an easy decision. From the first time I came in and met the staff and community leaders, I saw a city filled with people who truly care about where they live and work. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with some incredible people.

Is the grass always greener?

Many people in the past played a golf game to cement a business deal, didn’t they? They also played golf to socialize. Has Boulder City recognized lessening play on golf courses? Or, from another perspective, what happens when million-dollar homes are placed around our open space golf course with views of the McCullough Mountains? Do fewer people play golf on the Boulder Creek golf course?

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Shakespeare was the man when it came to comedy and tragedy. His ability to make people feel the intense emotions of the characters is still imitated today. The past few months have been filled with a bit of excited anticipation at City Hall as several longtime and high-level employees have found new roles in other acts. I’m here to borrow some Shakespearean lines, the first being from Ophelia, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” (Hamlet)

Me, my brother and Silo Sam

Recently, I’ve been enjoying watching shows on A&E related to professional wrestling back in the earlier days, with profiles on wrestlers I grew up watching as well as classic rivalries.

Let’s talk about the ‘D Word’

OK, as a starting point, I must note that it’s weird to think that I might be writing something that would put me in agreement with the Language Police.

Make a new plan, Stan

A plan is a method for achieving a desirable objective. It’s a program of action, usually memorialized in writing. Plans start with goals and ideas. But ideas alone (even good ones) don’t constitute a plan.

Honoring National Public Health Week

In my eight decades of this amazing life, I have worn a great many hats: son, brother, father, major (USAF), grandfather, council member, state representative, state senator.

Shhhhh… Don’t tell anyone

So, there was this guy I used to know. And, yes, a million stories told in bars have started with that exact phrase.