Eyes and ears of security

Justin Law

PHO_2592When a student dials 7777 on a campus phone, the student is directed to a security dispatcher.  If a student has a question about security and calls the security office, it is directed to a security dispatcher. If blue emergency pole button is pushed, a dispatcher answers it. 

These dispatchers are the eyes and ears of USI’s security.

Their job is to help USI. Each dispatcher works five days a week for eight hours.

No matter what, there is a dispatcher at security 24/7 for 365 days of the year.

Each dispatcher has to be a certified medical dispatcher to be prepared for an emergency.

First-shift dispatcher Margie Cox has worked 11 years as one of USI’s dispatcher, but previously worked as a USI security officer for five years.

Cox had to work eight hours with Warrick County dispatch, eights hours with American Medical Response and four hours with Evansville Police Department dispatch to train to be a USI dispatcher.

“They teach us stuff I hope we never have to do,” Cox said.


She said she considers being an officer previously her best training.

“I know where and what I am sending other officers into,” Cox said.

She said she does not want to put the officer at risk especially since the security officers are doing police work with a flashlight instead of a gun.

One part of the job that is more difficult is holding over until a replacement comes, Cox said. If a replacement is not there on time or runs late, any dispatcher has to stay.

Cox said lost and found is something she prides herself on with USI security.

People turn things into the lost and found daily at USI.

Cox said we have good people here because on multiple occasions, people turn in wallets and purses with money still intact.

Larry Rogers, second-shift dispatcher, also agreed that lost and found is important and said he considers it a favorite part of his job.

Rogers said many frantic women call security about lost purses. Sometimes employees find it before the women make the call. He said he does not let them “go on too long” and tell them “it’s their lucky day.”

He said a dispatcher definitely should be a people person.

Next year, Rogers will have worked 20 years in security at USI. The first six years he worked as an officer, and now almost 14 years as a dispatcher.

“If I disliked anything here, I wouldn’t have been here this long,” Rogers said.

He said he has seen how much the university has grown. There are different personalities and different routines, but as a dispatcher you have to work as a team.

Rogers works with Lucy Ball, three out of the five days he works.

Ball worked with security at University of Evansville and then moved to USI security dispatch in 2007.

She said during her shift 3-11 p.m., she is busiest from 3-5 p.m. and again at 9 p.m.

Ball said it is nerve racking when she or any dispatcher works alone.

They are in charge of six officers, a window when people need something later at night, phone calls and locking doors.

Ball said if an officer cannot relieve a dispatcher for a break, the dispatchers cannot leave their desk.

“It is hectic alone,” Ball said. “Sometimes there won’t be any potty breaks.”

For Ball, she works to help people.

“We have to make sure everyone is safe from the start to the end,” Ball said. “We are the eyes and ears of security.”