Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On the spot...

So yesterday, I was training volunteers on the newly adopted protocols for the severe weather shelter...

And as I got to the part about the breathalyzers for entry, my friend put me on the spot, asking all sorts of whys and hows and other miscellaneous scenarios that really, probably are not going to happen just as he manipulated for his examples.

He was trying to win. And getting me to lose credibility. Not hard, given that I was half the age of anyone in the room. And female, to their male superiority.

But I stuck to my guns. And sent mental SOS notes to my friend from the Loveland PD who was going to do crisis intervention training for them after I went over the rules.

When the friend in the audience continued, he said, "This really isn't fair of me to put her on the spot - I really ought to be asking the City Manager."

And I jumped on it.

My voice hard and steely, my eyes dead-on in, "ya wanna go?" mode, I said, "You're right, it's not fair. And I don't appreciate it. If you recall, I asked for citizen input months ago. I got nothing. And right what you have in your hands is what you've got to go with. And the bottom line is that every one of you is going to sign a statement that you understand the rules and that you WILL abide by them, and you're going to turn that in to me, thus you are bound by that. If you choose not to comply with that then the shelter will not exist."

So, die on your sword of principle for maybe one person, or play by the rules.

I kid you not. I was somewhat embarrassed later that I put it all out there like I did.

My cop friend told me later..."I, uh thought about rescuing you with an answer to that, but you did pretty damned good holding your own. You must have been a hell of an outreach worker."

*Edited to add - this post was a rush job. It does not fully convey the complexities of the exchange. The man in the audience who was questioning me was not trying to bring me down, so much as he was wanting to budge the rule. And, I understand why - because I know many of these folks too. He's a great guy. BUT...again, it isn't really my call. And, as a public servant - I am willing to make some folks feel uncomfortable with a breathalyzer if it decreases the risk of harm to any and all. I am willing to exclude someone if they choose alcohol over shelter (even though if they are an alcoholic, it is much less a choice and more a compulsion - I KNOW this) to keep one or ten people safe. Even with the edits - I'm not getting it all out there...


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