We had 12 questions for Telecommunicator Kristy Mecum in our ongoing series to get to know Division of Public Safety staff.
How long have you worked for the Division of Public Safety?
What's a typical day like for you?
Unfortunately not very exciting at work or at home. At home I take care of 4 animals; I walk one of my dogs and spend time with the other one outside since she doesn't walk well. I don't have kids, so most of my time is spent with my pets or working on our new house.
At work, I assist the police, handle maintenance calls after hours, enter paperwork. Every day at work is different so there isn't a "typical day" really.
What's your favorite part of your job? What's the worst?
In short, catching the bad guys. As a dispatcher, we don't have many opportunities to say that we did that or helped the police do that. But when we can assist them, provide crucial information, it's one of the most rewarding parts of our job.The worst is when we can't do anything. When an incident occurs and there is nothing for us to do, it makes me feel helpless and I don't like to feel that way.
The worst is when we can't do anything. When an incident occurs and there is nothing for us to do, it makes me feel helpless and I don't like to feel that way.
What is one thing that makes you different?
I am the only Certified Veterinary Technician at our department. I studied Veterinary Technology at Parkland with the intention of going into the field permanently, but as I progressed at DPS, I loved my job so much, I discovered I didn't want to leave. So I help at a clinic transiently to keep my skills up and work full time here.
What is something you’d like to see changed on campus or in the community?
I would like to see more departments or buildings on campus adopt the policy of allowing employees to bring their dog to work with them. Some studies prove this reduces stress and increases productivity in the workplace. I think it could be beneficial. At the very least, a trial period of this would be interesting.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Champaign-Urbana?
Black Dog Smoke and Ale House
What’s one of your funniest or fondest memories at the University of Illinois Police Department/Division of Public Safety?
Some of the funniest times I've had was actually outside of work with co-workers. Celebrating retirement or someone leaving to pursue another career. Can't really go into detail, but take my word for it, there was no shortage of laughing til you cried and stories we still tell among ourselves.
The fondest memories I have are a collection of holidays and long shifts. In law enforcement, we have developed our own type of family. We are a 24-hour facility, 7 days a week, including holidays. We don't shut down or close, and we don't get a day off. Lots of my coworkers bring in BBQ, chili, turkey, cake, brownies, sides....all kinds of stuff to make Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, and even bad weather days easier to handle.
If given the chance, who would you choose to be for a day?
I like being myself so I don't really feel a desire to be anyone else for a day, but if I had to pick, I'd actually want to be one of my dogs. I'd love to see the world through a dog's eyes for a day. Understanding their perspective and seeing things from their point of view would be humbling I think.
What is your motto in life?
I have 2:"When a job is once begun, you leave it not until it's done; and be a matter great or small, you do it well or not at all." -Zig Ziglar
"When a job is once begun, you leave it not until it's done; and be a matter great or small, you do it well or not at all." -Zig Ziglar"Always Keep Fighting."
"Always Keep Fighting."
If you had once in a lifetime front-row tickets and a backstage pass to meet a recording artist, who would it be?
While I love music, I really don't feel any desire or need to meet a recording artist. I'd rather have the chance to meet actor Jared Padalecki. Aside from being a big fan of his show, Supernatural, I love his work on the Always Keep Fighting campaign battling depression, mental illness, addiction etc.
If money doesn’t grow on trees, why do banks have branches?
"Why do you have to 'put your two cents in'... but it's only a 'penny for your thoughts'? Where's that extra penny going to?" "Is Disney World the only people trap operated by a mouse?"
"Is Disney World the only people trap operated by a mouse?" **Some questions are just best left unanswered.
**Some questions are just best left unanswered.
What’s something you would like to tell students?
The police are not your enemy, they are here to help. Be honest and respectful (to everyone including police), and you will find the outcome more likely to be in your favor.
Also as my husband is so fond of saying, "If you are going to be stupid, be smart about it."