Providence, RI – A police officer in Providence is facing severe professional backlash after admitting he doesn’t believe dispatchers are first responders.
“Listen,” said officer James Rhoads in a now-deleted tweet, “They don’t leave their rolling chairs. The only thing they respond to is the microwave.” When Twitter users began to push back, Rhoads doubled-down. “Let’s be honest, they really are nothing more than glorified secretaries. They answer the phone and take notes, badly might I add, before passing the buck to actual responders.”
Chief Richard Johnson says the comments do not violate department policy. “Our officers can voice their opinions while away from work and in the private domain. We cannot police their private lives.” Chief Johnson replied, “No comment,” when asked if he felt Rhoads was wrong.
Just because the department isn’t officially disciplining Officer Rhoads, doesn’t mean he’s escaping punishment, however. Two weeks after the ordeal, Rhoads admits it may not have been his best idea. “Well, I’ve been dispatched to every trash call we’ve received since. NOTHING gets held for the next shift. These dispatchers are brutal. Yesterday, I had to catch a twenty-car wreck with injuries three minutes before my shift ended. I didn’t get out of there for six hours.”
The debate of whether or not dispatchers are first responders centers around benefits they receive, like stress or hazardous duty pay. Many people believe dispatchers deserve similar benefits to other first responders. Others believe that they do not. It is worth noting that BNN stands firmly behind dispatchers. Please do not send us to shit calls.
A reporter asked Communications Officer Jennifer Brown about the “unofficial” punishment Officer Rhoads has received. She grabbed the mic and said, “Dispatchers tell cops where to go, bitch,” dropped the mic, and walked away.