A Changing of the Guard…
Patrick Mulcahey has been at the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) for 14 years, and today will be his last day on the 9-1-1 dispatch floor. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Patrick and his successor in training Shannon Bond to talk about how their position impacts the Department, and a little about their history here.
If you have ever called 9-1-1, in San Francisco there’s a remote possibly it was their voice providing reassurance and calm during your emergency. They may also have been the force behind directing police officers, fire fighters, and medics to your location. While you may have never interacted with Patrick in the past or with the Shannon in the future, this much is certain: The dispatcher answering your call or sending you help developed their skill and expertise because of training instructors like Patrick and Shannon.
So what has Patrick been up to all these years? After ten years as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, Patrick transitioned to the position of Training Section Assistant. The Training Section Assistant has the unique responsibility of helping to train all new dispatchers that come through the door. Dispatcher training often lasts up to a year on average, it is incredibly intense, demanding, and often weeds out the folks that are not quite ready for the volatility of 9-1-1 work. When we asked how Patrick found himself in this position, he humbly responded that he volunteered! This isn’t too surprising as he described that he found himself at DEM originally because of his desire to serve the public.
Patrick spent a long time sitting on the 9-1-1 dispatch floor assisting new dispatchers with on the job training, helping them as they took their first 9-1-1 calls. He expressed that the most difficult and the most gratifying part of his job was learning how to command a classroom and teach a completely new subject matter to students from the beginning.
Shannon Bond has been with the department for four years as a dispatcher and is learning the ropes from Patrick. Shannon comes to this position with some serious teaching experience of his own. As a classroom flight instructor, Shannon had a sincere passion for teaching and cultivating students. His most challenging and most gratifying moments in the classroom are learning how to recognize different learning styles, and that wonderful moment when you break through to someone who is struggling with the subject matter. Shannon will begin as an instructor to his first academy class at the end of March when we will welcome 15 new hopeful dispatchers.
This is a true changing of the guard at DEM, as Shannon was one of Patrick’s very first students in his first academy class four or so years ago. As we lose a passionate, talented, and kind teacher to our dispatcher force, we welcome another talented crew member looking to continue the tradition of education to the next 9-1-1 generation.
(Patrick Mulcahey on the left, Shannon Bond on the right)
Patrick, thank you for your service, you will truly be missed. Shannon, as Patrick put so eloquently, “You’re going to knock their socks off.”