SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) She applied to be a Salt Lake County dispatcher after a bet with a co-worker. 36 years later – she’s still taking our 911 calls. In our Behind the Badge report – we go behind the scenes to the Unified Police Dispatch Center.
When you call 911 in Salt Lake County – you may hear the voice of dispatch supervisor Mary Bain. “Who is the male party involved in this?” Mary has been answering police emergency calls since 1982. “I love all the aspects of the job – talking with the citizens – interacting with my fellow dispatchers and working with the officers.”
She’s been working with those dispatchers and officers now for 36 years. And she says she absolutely loves every day on the job. “Everyday is a new day. Every day is new phone calls. Every day is new situations.” And while she has been sending emergency help to Salt Lake County residents for three decades – becoming a dispatcher actually happened because a co-worker at another job issued a challenge. “It was a bet. A bet. It was a bet.” “I was working the switchboard operator graveyard at the Marriott. A security guy was a dispatcher and he bet me I wouldn’t do something to improve my career opportunities.” She applied. And the rest as they say is history.
She has become a supervisor – overseeing a group of dispatchers. She is also a BCI-TAC. That’s a Bureau of Criminal Identification Team Agency Coordinator. Basically, she trains dispatchers and new officers on dispatch protocol and etiquette.
Mary says part of what she enjoys about her job – the variety. “You never know what the next call could be. I could hang up the phone from a child locked in a car and then get someone running around with a gun or something like that.” She says some calls are hard to put behind you, but she says dispatchers eventually learn to let things go so they can be ready for the next emergency. “You just kind of have to hope it will be all OK and take the next call and go on.” And when it comes to the next calls – she plans on answering them for as long as she can. “This is my family. The dispatchers. The officers. UPD is my family. My extended family.”
And when I asked her what is the most important thing we can tell her when we call 911 she says it is all about location, location, location. “I need to know where you are – number one. If I don’t know where you are – I can’t send help.” 05 So, if all else fails and that is all I’ve got is your address and for some reason, I can at least send officers over to meet you in person.”
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