Meet the people who answer our emergency calls - Behind the Badge

Behind the scenes with Weber Area 911 dispatchers

OGDEN, UTAH (ABC4 UTAH) Before police officers, firefighters or paramedics arrive on the scene of an emergency - a 911 dispatcher is involved in the call. We turn to them and rely on them when we need help. 
       
In this week's Behind the Badge report, we go behind the scenes with the Weber Area Dispatch 911. 
 
"Are you there with her?" Tanya Kruitbosch is handling a 911 call. "I do have officers on the way. I'm just going to keep you on the phone until they get there. As a dispatcher she handles calls like this every day.  "I've received every type of call you can probably think of." "Traffic accidents. Murders. On a happier note - helping people." And she's been handling these types of calls at the Weber Area Dispatch 911 now for 11 years. "I wanted to do it because I absolutely love to help people." "It's just fulfilling to me to help people on the worse day of their lives." 
 
And she's not the only one who feels that way. During this recent weekday shift - she was one of 16 dispatchers taking emergency calls for 25 agencies across Weber and Morgan County. Tanya says part of the appeal of dispatch work - everyday is different. "No day is ever the same here. And that is what I like about this job. You never know what to expect. It always keeps me on my toes and its exciting and its definitely an adrenaline rush."  She says dispatchers are responsible for getting you help as soon as possible and keeping police and paramedics informed of what is going on. Often that means being involved in just part of the story. 
"Picking up the book reading the middle and setting it back down. Not knowing how it began and not knowing how it ends. That's just something all of us have to accept."
 
This center answers about 900 calls per day. And Tanya says some are extremely sad. "It definitely pulls at your heart strings. Were all humans so obviously it is going to have an affect on you somehow." 
But the 32 year old adds - they also get the chance to guide people to safety and save lives.
"I had a lady on the freeway and her excelerator was stuck. And I was able to instruct her to safely turn off her car and get to the side of the road before she caused an accident or hurt somebody or herself." 
Weber Area Dispatch has more than 60 dispatchers. Some are new to the job and some have been answering our 911 calls for 30 years. 
 
Tanya says there is one call she still hasn't had. "I haven't delivered a baby and I want to so bad." 
But she plans on doing it long enough to get that baby delivery call saying - "This is my calling."
 
Tanya understands when children call 911 on their own - because her daughter has done it. 
Hear her share the story in the WEB EXTRA.

       
And she and all the dispatchers we talked to asked me to pass on a message - 911 is for emergencies. 
Weber Area 911 gets about 100 non emergency calls per day as well - one example - calling 911 to find out when the parade starts. Don't call 911 unless it is an emergency. 
To nominated an officer for a future story go to http://www.good4utah.com/badge

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