27 May 2010

"Wage Freeze in Progress, 379 South Branch Road...."

Hillsborough Township police dispatchers may be looking to make a few extra bucks now that they have voluntarily accepted a wage freeze for the upcoming year.  With the agreement, members of Police Dispatchers' local 701 who have been working without a contract since 2008, will retroactively receive the same 3.5% increase for 2009 that was given to all non-uniformed personnel.

So what can a police dispatcher do in his spare time to earn enough money to make ends meet?  How about become one of the mostly recognizable voices in television history?

That's exactly what real-life LAPD police dispatcher Shaaron Claridge did in 1968 when she signed on to be the radio dispatch voice heard on "Adam-12"!  Producer Jack Webb, Sgt. Friday of "Dragnet" fame, decided that having an authentic dispatcher in the role would add a touch of realism to the police drama.

Who can possibly forget one of the most famous lines in television history?  "One adam twelve, one adam twelve..." ranks right up there with "Lucy, I'm home" and "Heeeeeere's Johnny!"

You can hear Ms. Claridge on many 60s and 70s television cop shows - "Dragnet", "Columbo", even "Lou Grant" - always in the often uncredited role of "police dispatcher".  Her voice even appeared in the 1983 Roy Scheider police helicopter movie "Blue Thunder".

So, take heart Hillsborough dispatchers - there's always show biz!

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