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Editor's Desk: Resolution

Author: Randall D. Larson

Copyright: 9-1-1 Magazine, Feature Content \

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The advent of the New Year has traditionally been a time for new beginnings, for personal betterment as well as hanging up the new calendar.  New Year’s resolutions mark those well-intentioned, self-wrought changes-to-be:  I resolve to be a better person; I resolve to stop eating so many donuts; I resolve to maybe eventually getting around to stop procrastinating; I resolve to cease driving 85 on my way to the police department; I resolve to stop lying about making resolutions… that sort of thing. 

There’s another meaning for the word “resolution,” one that comes up quite frequently in the operation of 9-1-1 Magazine, when we’re seeking and selecting photography to accompany the articles planned for the old print magazine or the current web portal.  Resolution, or more properly image resolution, is a measurement of photographic clarity, which describes the detail an image holds.  The higher the resolution, often measured in pixels or dots per inch (DPI) in digital photography, means more image detail.  Sometimes it can be tough getting the right photograph in the right resolution and it can be really frustrating when the only available photos of some newsworthy event are low resolution, which just don’t hold up well to scrutiny in our high-definition world.  They turn out grainy or pixilated – kind of like the indistinct memory of a forgotten New Year’s resolution (to strain that metaphor just a tad further).

This kind of resolution – clarity – can be valuable in the workplace (especially in public safety, where lives depend on the keenness of our perspective).  Seeing things clearly – being attentive and proactive in the performance of our jobs, especially if we’re finding ourselves focusing on the negative aspects of either what we do or aspects of our work environment that we don’t find especially likeable.  It can be hard to keep a smile on our faces when we’re dealing with the kinds of things that happen to people – or that people do to one another – in the world of public safety and emergency response.  Add to that all of the stresses and other personal drawbacks that can exist in the public safety communications workplace – and it’s not unusual, or even necessarily improper, that after a time many dispatchers become a little discontent.

This is where a good New Year’s Resolution might come in handy.  Recognize the things you can’t change but commit to being a positive influence on those things you can change, and take the opportunity to reorient your thinking towards positive aspects of the job, some of which may have been forgotten as discontentment increased. 

As with New Year’s resolutions, making the world a better place starts with individual responsibility, and maybe a better work environment does to.  Resolve to view your workplace with greater clarify and resolution.  Glimpse the big picture within which you work and reacquaint yourself with compassion and empathy toward the public your jot exists to serve.  Perhaps even reorient your thinking back to what brought you into this business in the first place, and commit yourself to finding more enjoyment in your daily work. 

As for me, I’m thinking of putting away these donuts and getting back on that exercise cycle.  Or, not.

9-1-1 Magazine Editor Randall Larson retired in 2009 after 25 years as a communications supervisor and Field Communications Director for the San Jose Fire Department.  Larson has been a Field Communications instructor for First Contact 9-1-1, the California Fire Chiefs Association – Communications Section, and other organizations, and was a Communications Specialist for FEMA’s California US&R Task Force 3.  Since retirement, Larson continues to participate in the annual California Mobile Command Center Rallies, which he founded in 2009, and is a busy writer in several fields of interest. 

This Editor's Desk was originally published in our January/February 2007 issue.  Randall is developing an e-book for Kindle collecting 18 years of his editorial musings from 9-1-1 Magazine. Details will follow.


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