Bradenton 911 dispatcher ends 31-year career with good news

A Bradenton woman recaps her long run with the service.

911 operators have a tough job. They listen to emergencies and make decisions that can save lives.

We caught up with a Bradenton dispatcher on her last day on the job, asking her about the calls that she'll never forget.

In the world of 911, scanners are typically reserved for emergencies. But back on Sept. 11, Marcia Bacon actually heard a bit of good news over hers.

After 31 years of answering calls and saving lives for Manatee County, Bacon is retiring. So her colleagues took turns on the radio wishing her well – and aiding in those tears of joy.

"It kept going, and kept going and kept going, and I just kept crying and kept crying," Bacon said.

"They were saying such nice things. It's nice to be appreciated and know that they care about you, so just very emotional for me."

As you can imagine, after decades of answering emergency calls, Bacon has heard it all.

Some big cases - like the Air Force F-16 jet leaving MacDill AFB that collided with a Cessna plane back in 2000.

"That was a pretty big deal here," Bacon said. "We were pretty busy, lots of calls on that."

And some calls more personal, like the first one she took since returning after the death of her fiance:

"It was a man who said his wife wouldn't wake up and he was crying and I was crying right with him. I felt his pain. He said 'We just had dinner last night.'"

And coming from someone who dealt with life or death on a daily basis, Bacon offered some advice:

"Live it, have fun and enjoy. As far as 911, addresses are very important. Don't depend on someone else where you are; you guys need to tell us where you are."

For now, Bacon is spending time with family. But she plans to move out of the state to try something new.

(© 2016 WTSP)


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