OGDEN -- It was the worst possible scenario, but Erica Engstrom kept her cool amid the chaos unfolding more than a mile away on a darkened Ogden street.
Around 8:40 p.m. Jan. 4, Engstrom was behind her console in the Weber Area Dispatch 911 Dispatch Center at the Ogden Public Safety Building.
Suddenly, the frantic voice of a police officer crackled over an emergency channel she was monitoring.
"Officer down!" the policeman screamed into his radio.
When it was all over, Jared Francom, an Ogden police officer assigned to the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, was mortally wounded in a shootout during a raid at Matthew David Stewart's home at 3268 Jackson Ave.
Five other members of the strike force were wounded, as was Stewart.
Engstrom, a dispatcher for more than three years, has handled calls in which police officers shot a suspect, but she had never experienced anything like numerous officers being wounded simultaneously.
"It was controlled chaos," Engstrom recalled during an interview Friday. "You just go with it."
While Engstrom handled radio traffic from police involved in the shootout, 11 other dispatchers coordinated personnel from law enforcement agencies and medical responders rushing to the crime scene.
Engstrom remained on the radio with the officers for about an hour before being relieved by another dispatcher. Then, the enormity of the tragedy hit her and she broke down.
"It was a mixture of shock, anger and sadness," she said. "There were a lot of emotions."
Engstrom also credited her fellow dispatchers with helping her get through the emergency. "There was no way I could do it by myself," she said.
Engstrom had never met Francom personally, but she had communicated with him over the radio and, from that experience, felt she knew him.
She also understands the challenges Francom faced on the job because her husband, Derek Engstrom, is a police officer with the Riverdale Police Department.
Many of the Weber Dispatch Center's 66 dispatchers either are married to police officers and firefighters or have relatives in those professions.
Tina Roylance, executive director of the Weber Area Dispatch 911, praised Engstrom for maintaining her composure under extremely difficult circumstances on the night of the shooting.
"Erica did a fantastic job," she said.
The keys to being a successful dispatcher are a high energy level, the ability to exercise common sense and performing well under pressure, Roylance said, adding that dispatchers receive weekly training to keep their skills sharp.
"If you stay in it about three years, you get hooked," she said. "It becomes a lifestyle."