My call sign on the radio has been 784 for the last 15 years. In fact, I’ve had the call sign 784 longer than I have been married.
The number 784 and my last name kind of go together. Almost like a math equation.
You remember the old rule in math? One side of the equation has to be equal to the other side. The equation could also be flipped around and it would have the same meaning like this.
Ask anyone in patrol and they knew the number because I’ve had it so long. If I call dispatch on the phone I don’t have to say my name. I just tell them 784 and they know it’s me.
I think my wife should call me 784 sometimes. 784 would be the normal voice. John would mean I was in trouble.
I always thought I could retire as 784 and ride off into the sunset with those three numbers. It a few weeks my number is going to change because of a reorganization of call signs throughout the department.
One sergeant asked me if there was going to be a retirement party for my number. Here are a few other comments I’ve heard from people:
“I’m still going to call you 784 on the radio.”
“Why are they changing your number?”
And finally one dispatcher sent me a message that simply said, “You’ll always be 784.”
I know 784 is just a set of numbers, but ask any cop about a call sign they had for years and they’ll tell you the same thing. They’ll say the number was part of them.
If they worked a patrol area for a long time, they probably had the same call sign. If they worked the same specialized detail for a long time, they had the same call sign. It could be 30 years later and they’ll still tell you what their call sign was.
Two weeks from now the phrase, “784 en route,” will be a memory. It will be like a name in written in the sand that got washed away by a wave. Each wave after that erasing it away forever.
My new number will be 729….It just doesn’t sound right.
It will take a while to reprogram myself, but I’ll just have to adjust. It won’t be any different than wearing a new pair of boots at work. At first there will be some pain, but then you get used to them.
One thing is for sure. I’ll feel dirty the first couple of times I say 729. . It will certainly feel like I’m cheating on the number 784.
I might just have to say, “784” every once in a while just to keep the number alive.
So long number 784. We’ve been through a lot together.