Bobbi “Faces of PTSD”

Ken Browne

Bobbi, I have been a Communications Operator (dispatcher/911 operator) for 8 years. My kindergarten was in Kelowna at Southeast District OCC, covering 52 detachments, and one of the busiest RCMP call centres in Canada. I am grateful to have learned and worked with the FINEST in this line of work. I currently serve full time at North Vancouver RCMP, and work as a casual at EHQ OCC and Langley RCMP.
The RCMP has been a part of my life since I was born. My Dad, Ken Browne, joined the Force in 1970, 9 years prior to the arrival of ME! My brother, James, is also a C/M in North District.
PTSD has been a part of life for me for a long time. On July 19, 1992 in Quesnel BC my mom had decided to jog to the detachment to pick up the car as my dad had taken it to work that day. The night before he had celebrated his 43rd birthday and my mom had danced her heart out as a can-can dancer for Billy Barker Days. A long story short, my dad was unknowingly called to her fatal pedestrian accident scene, where she had been hit by a travel trailer driven by a nice couple from Florida that were headed to Alaska. Little did I know that day, at 13 years old, that when I lost my mom, I would come to lose my dad too. He’s very much alive, but has suffered severe PTSD since, and has never gotten the help he needs so much. Perhaps the stigma of PTSD and his generation with a tough face. It makes me sad that I can’t enjoy a relationship with him but no one can force someone to reach out. But I MISS him. He was my first and will be my last hero. Gave me the best childhood a kid could have. Encouraged me to join the Force. And now, we don’t even talk.
As the Force and its Members reached out and helped our family so much when my mom passed, I was thrilled to become a dispatcher and work alongside the people I considered my heroes since the day I could talk. My Dad was one of them. Every day that I go into work, I am determined to go above and beyond, to make someone’s day easier, even when I have taken shit for doing so. I love to help. It’s in my blood.
I am quickly approaching the 1st anniversary of a file that changed my life and career. A 6 year old boy, Vondrae Martin, drowned in a creek in North Vancouver (Google the name for the full story). Ironically I’d had a file a year or so before, where a small child drowned in the pool. This was a horrible file to dispatch. I was very calm throughout, but our room exploded due to the circumstances and misunderstood information from scene, and for the first time in my 7 years, I was afraid of the people in the radio room. Emotions exploded and I was so overtaken by my own trauma after dispatching this, that I could only watch it unfold and crumble on the inside. I went home later on, and realized I was physically reacting to this event. This got me. It was this event. I called my supervisor and explained what was happening, and that I wanted to see a Force Psychologist to check in, before I sat down in the OCC again. I did. I checked in. I reached out and I think that saved me.
Because of how I’ve seen and heard PTSD dissolve so many people I love and care deeply about, I wanted to reach out with the hopes that it didn’t dissolve me. I feel like reaching out saved me. People always want to help. The most important role in any of our jobs is to not only take care of ourselves, but take care of each other.


2 thoughts on “Bobbi “Faces of PTSD”

  1. Pingback: FACES OF PTSD | PTSD from darkness into light

  2. Hi Bobbi. Thank you for sharing your story. I am a member of 30 years service and I was posted at Quesnel Det until 1990. I remember, all too well, hearing the story of you mothers tragic accident and of your father being, unknowingly, dispatched to it. It is sad that your father has not reached out for help as there are now two victims, not including yourself. You should be very proud of your decision to become a C/M dispatcher and I am certain that your Dad is also very proud of you. You see, I too, suffer from PTSD and am currently ODS for it. I , too, have a daughter who is a C/M dispatcher with H Div OCC and I am very proud of her. The only advice I can give you is to continue to reach out to your dad even if he does not answer back. Let him know you’ll always be there for him and encourage him to get the help he needs. This comes from an “Old School” member of 30 yrs who did and I’m going to be OK. Take care and thank you for your service. Sincerely; Cpl John Currie.

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