Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mercury in Retrograde? SWAT

For the astrologically-minded, this phrase is familiar. When Mercury is in retrograde (whatever that really means), communication difficulties are greater. People don't understand what you mean. Communication breakdowns are more frequent.

Was Mercury in retrograde last week? I experienced my own challenges when I called the Illinois State Police.

I was trying to get information on SWAT team qualifications and certification. That shouldn't be all that hard. I had called District 2 in Elgin and had gotten the name of an ISP sergeant a week or so before. When I called, I reached his voicemail and left a message. When I didn't hear from him and called back, the number no longer reached him.

So I called the Chicago District office and connected with 2-3 incorrect extensions.

Then I called Springfield and reached the office of the Director of the Illinois State Police, Larry Trent. A very helpful woman there needed a couple of minutes to locate a number for me and gave me two numbers. I opted to call the Training Unit, instead of the Department head.

When I reached her number, a message indicated that she was out on an extended absence and provided a phone number in northern Illinois. I was in my car and had to dial back three times to understand the number. Messages like that should be recorded slowly and alert callers to have paper and pencil handy, and then give the number twice.

I called the next number, where I also reached a voice mailbox. The message there? Leave a message or call the same employee back in Springfield who was out on an extended absence.

Duh..... When the northern Illinois trooper didn't call back, I called him again and suggested that he remove the referral number, because it only provided a direction to call him back! And then I called Larry Trent's office to suggest they not give out a number of someone who is out on an extended absence.

Has the training trooper called back yet? Well, I guess Mercury must be stuck in retrograde.

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