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OGDEN — At the Weber Area Dispatch Center in Ogden, dispatchers like Erica Engstrom learn to keep cool in some of the most difficult situations.
"Each shift, you're gonna have a certain level of stress. You never know what's going to happen," Engstrom explained.
But on the night of Jan. 4, Engstrom responded to what she says was easily her worst call ever. "The first time it was called out, you could tell something wasn't right," she said.
An officer with the Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force radioed in, saying that an officer had been shot.
You know, it just came across as the one at first, and then it went on. Then we got the reports that it was six total, but we had no idea the conditions of any of them.
–Erica Engstrom, dispatcher
"You know, it just came across as the one at first, and then it went on," Engstrom said. "Then we got the reports that it was six total, but we had no idea the conditions of any of them."
Agent Jared Francom was killed. The day after his funeral at the dispatch center, Engstrom told KSL News she can't help but feel for his family left behind since she herself is the wife of an Ogden police officer.
"I just couldn't imagine being on the other end of it," she said.
Still, she says as the bad news came crashing down from the field, her training went into autopilot. "Everybody out on the floor had some part of something to do with that call, whether it was to change it to medical, dispatch the ambulances," she said.
Before that shootout, Engstrom never met Francom, or any of the injured officers, though she'd worked with them before.
"We get to know them, even if it's just by that number. But you can always get their personality over the road," she said.
For Francom, that number was "Whiskey 12." Engstrom said she feels like he was part of her work family. And while that frantic call may not have been easy to take, she said it was what she had to do.
"You know, I think everything happens for a reason. I sat there for a reason," Engstrom said. "I wouldn't say I was glad to take it, but you know, now I can say I've been a part of that."
And much like the police officers, Engstrom and her co-workers say the outpouring of support for them has been huge: 911 centers all over the state have sent them cards and flowers and even offered to take their shifts in case they need time to recover.