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Published October 25, 2010, 12:00 AM

It's My Job: Going 100 wpm

Typist gains newfound respect for Moorhead police officers
Linda Strain began her career at the Moorhead Police Department as a secretary in 1974.

By: Dave Olson, INFORUM

Linda Strain began her career at the Moorhead Police Department as a secretary in 1974.

She quickly stepped up to a supervisory position and kept at that work until 2006, when she retired.

Make that, sort of retired.

Shortly after hanging up her full-time career, Strain took a part-time power typist job at the police department.

The job involves listening to audio recordings officers make of incidents they cover and typing the reports into a computer.

Strain said she loves the job and the people she works with, but added some months are busier than others and typists currently have a backlog of low-priority reports to transcribe.

Q: How did you land this job?

A: I got into this job after I retired from the police department as office manager. So I’ve known about this position for 20 years, and I’ve been in it now for four years.

How often do you work?

It’s perfect for me as a retired person; I only work 10 hours a week, and I can pick my hours. I have to work a weekend every five weeks.

Police reports deal with unpleasant subjects. Does the material you deal with bother you at times?

Yes, it does, especially when it’s dealing with children – when you type the domestic reports and there are children witnessing their parents getting beat up.

What is the most interesting aspect of your job?

I know about things that are going on. I’ve been doing it for so long that I guess I just like it. I like the people, and I love to type.

Were you one of those kids in high school who could type 70 words a minute?

No, I was not one of them.

What does it take to do this job well?

You need good English skills. You also have to be able to not get too involved (in the reports) because the content can really get to you. You cannot be afraid of bad words because the officers have to repeat exactly what the person said.

Is there anything about the job that has surprised you?

The disrespect out there for police officers; that’s tough for me. I just feel so bad. The officers are good at maintaining their cool, most of the time.

Does your job give you increased respect for officers?

Yes, I don’t understand how they can go out there and do that every day.

Anything else about the work people should know?

Reports (officer dictations) that used to be maybe 10 minutes long are now going up to at least a half-hour or more. They’re more in-depth. When you have a 30-minute report, that is going to take you at least an hour and a half to type.

To submit an idea for “It’s My Job,” e-mail businessnews@forumcomm.com.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555