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Honoring our dispatchers 

Ranger Rich

I love strippers as much as the next guy. I recall a particularly exciting encounter a few years ago. The woman led me into a private room, looked right at me and started talking. I said, "Ooooohhh, yes, my little muffin-cakes," and I stuffed several dollar bills into her frilly undergarments. Turns out it was a job interview at the Denver Post. I felt like an idiot.

Seriously, who doesn't enjoy watching a stripper gyrating around a brass pole? The alluring movements. The beguiling facial expressions. The seductive hip-grinding. The leopard-pattern thong. But enough about last year's Independent Christmas party and whether executive editor Ralph Routon drank too much wine.

The point here is that I'm currently at my computer looking — OK, staring — at a photo of El Paso County Sheriff's Office dispatcher Tiffany Huntz. She is naked and has what appears to be boat rivets through her nipples. She has another piece of shiny hardware piercing her, uh, well, the area of her body that rhymes with the capital city of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. (Here many of you are saying "Good Lord, she pierced her Saskatoon?" and I'd say no and suggest you go look at a map.)

It's old news, of course. Independent reporter Pam Zubeck has written all about the somewhat odd case of Sheriff's Office dispatcher Huntz and her on-line nakedness in "tasteful" online photos. There were a lot of photos, but it's harder to find them now.

The stories also detailed a prank in which Huntz tricked another female dispatcher into shouting the name of accident victim Fola Seamen over the department radio channel before the woman realized that Fola Seamen sounded a lot like "full of semen."

(I once pretended I was crying and had a Kmart employee get on the store intercom to locate my lost brother, "Dick Hertz from Holden." I was 53.)

But we're not here to talk about Dick Hertz or Ben Dover or I.P. Daly. We're talking about dispatcher Huntz, who has somehow escaped any serious discipline and has, in fact, been given several promotions and raises and currently earns $51,588 per year.

Sheriff Terry Maketa says he knows virtually nothing about any of this and has never, ever, clicked on anybody's online photos. Huntz joined other co-workers last Saturday at the county Republican assembly, standing on the stage to support Maketa's campaign and wearing a T-shirt with the message: "Let me tell you about MY emergency."

All of which brings us to our highly esteemed El Paso County Board of Commissioners — proud motto: Quinque Dois Workei Nonus ("Five Doing the Work of None") — who, amid the ongoing sheriff's dispatcher controversy, passed a resolution setting aside this week to honor — you can't make this stuff up — our public-safety dispatchers.

The actual resolution, which took up several minutes of the commissioners' time last week as more of our potholes developed echoes, cited our emergency dispatchers and their role in the "apprehension of criminals, suppression of fires and treatment of patients."

From Commissioner Amy Lathen, talking to dispatchers: "It is so reassuring to know that in times of distress we can just call and you will be right there."

You know, unless the phone cord gets snagged on a nipple ring.

"We are very grateful," Lathen added, "that you are on the other end of the phone ... to render timely assistance."

Commissioner Wayne Williams offered his thanks, too, saying, "I appreciate the fact that when folks are a little bit frantic, emergency dispatchers are able to maintain a calm demeanor."

Staying calm, as you might imagine, is not an easy thing for a dispatcher to do when there's a hot, smoldering fire raging in the caller's house.

And, it should be noted that prior to being hired by the sheriff's department in 2004, Huntz worked as a waitress and a liquor store clerk. This was apparently not lost on commissioner Sallie Clark, who said during the resolution ceremony: "I'm thankful there are highly trained dispatchers on the other end of the line when 911 is called."

Me, too.

Although, if you get operator Fola Seamen, you might want to hang up and call back later.

rangerrich@csindy.com

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