The hero behind the glass

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 6/19/24

TORRINGTON – There is an old saying which says in greatness oftentimes goes unnoticed or overlooked at first.

It can be argued some of the greatest minds and heroes of the world were not …

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The hero behind the glass


TORRINGTON – There is an old saying which says in greatness oftentimes goes unnoticed or overlooked at first.

It can be argued some of the greatest minds and heroes of the world were not even noticed or listened to when first starting out. More often than not they took a backseat for a great while until someone finally noticed truly what was going on.

When we think of what it means to be heroic, first and foremost we often tend to think of things or beings who may not be entirely realistic or even practical for that matter. 

Obviously, as children, we probably saw ourselves growing up to be brave and bold like Batman. As the years progressed unfortunately, we began to understand as fun and entertaining as comics are, they are purely works of fiction. Truth be told if anyone in Goshen County thought to put on a mask and go “fight crime” in the middle of the night they would probably be arrested and booked before dawn. Vigilantism sounds like fun, but it’s highly illegal.

Other times we perhaps consider famous athletes as our heroes. After all, they are physically in the best shape a human being could be in, they know how to put on an exciting show before a large crowd and every once in a while, they come through when we need them the most.

Is this really heroic? Once again fun and entertaining; but being highly overpaid while simply crossing the line of scrimmage or putting a ball in a basket at the last second realistically doesn’t qualify as heroism when looking at the big picture.

Each and every day regular human beings try to go about their daily lives as best they can, and truly wish to just live in peace and safety with one another.

As much as we wish this was the case day in and day out, the world is anything but a perfect place. Crime is real, accidents happen, and real emergencies can and will find us once in a while.

This truly is where the real heroes of everyday life come into our lives. When a grandfather is having a heart attack, an electrical outburst has engulfed your kitchen in flames, or an angry neighbor with meth in his veins and something on his mind is punching at the door; 911 is the most beautiful number in the world.

Even further, the most beautiful sight in the world in the middle of an emergency is a police officer, a firefighter, or an EMT. In the most dire situations, they can appear to be even angels.  

Yes, these truly are the real heroes of our everyday realities.

Now for the most crucial question. Who must you talk to first when you dial 911, have an emergency, and need help pronto?

The first person you will be talking to is of course an emergency dispatcher. 

Bailye Goulart has been sitting in an emergency dispatch chair for seventeen years now. Despite initially beginning her career with emergency response in Nebraska in 2007, Goulart oftentimes can be found sitting right in the sanctified dispatch chair at the Torrington Communications Center. 

According to Torrington Police Chief Matt Johnson, Goulart may in fact arguably be the most important person of all in Goshen County. If a resident is having an emergency which could mean the difference between life and death, Goulart is the first one you will talk to.

“Bailye specifically is the magician behind the curtain,” chief Johnson said. “This dispatch center works because she is the one who leads an amazing team who sacrificially serves every single person in this county. She makes the magic happen. The dispatchers are the unsung heroes who don’t receive nearly a fraction of the credit they deserve. Everything they do, and everything Bailye does touches a life. It is an incredibly significant, impactful, and difficult job; but they are people who we need to always be celebrating and supporting.”

According to Goulart, the position itself can on any given day be the most difficult job in the world or even the most rewarding job in the world. If there is something to be said regarding emergency dispatch, it would certainly be the job requires someone faithfully dedicated and unique who sincerely believes in the work they are doing. 

In a matter of seconds, Goulart can go from everything being calm and peaceful to answering calls about violence, a fire spreading and a toddler choking all at once. It is up to Goulart to ensure help is on the way efficiently and immediately.

“You do deal with very upset people in alarming situations,” Goulart stated. “You will miss birthdays and holidays with our schedule. But we do our best to prioritize family because it’s very important for everyone here. It is a very rewarding career, and it does have its struggles, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it. We dispatch for all of Goshen County, so we work with four law enforcement agencies, nine fire departments, and four EMS services. After a while, they all just come together.”

Goulart recalled a recent incident which serves as a humbling reminder of the immense importance of her job. As the experienced dispatcher put it, just answering the phone could mean whether someone’s life will continue or not.

“There was a call for a child who was choking,” Goulart said. “While I was on the phone with the mother, the baby started crying. Just knowing had I not answered the phone to get them help, the outcome would have been entirely different. Things like this are very rewarding as well as the relief I feel. This takes a lot of empathy, and we live in such a rural area where some folks are miles and miles away from any help. This was part of the reason we established our Emergency Medical Dispatch Program. This way we as dispatchers can give direct instructions to callers trying to help patients until EMS can arrive.”

“She’s not just keeping residents safe,” chief Johnson added. “She’s keeping police officers safe, EMTs safe and firefighters safe. How many lives have literally been saved because of the work she has done? How many people were kept safe at the end of all the craziness she has to deal with sometimes?”

Despite being in the position now for nearly twenty years and having saved presumably thousands of lives directly from the chair in which she sits, Goulart has no intention of slowing down any time soon.

However, as with any demanding position especially when the sole purpose is to ensure the right of peace and safety for an entire community, there is nothing wrong with getting a little help from time to time.

According to both Goulart and Johnson, the center is in crucial need of a new, enthusiastic, and dedicated dispatcher ready and willing to learn. As both personnel would explain, the right person can make all the difference for so many lives.

“We generally do about three months of on-the-job training,” Goulart said. “There is a required two weeks at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy where all new dispatchers must attend. We are looking for applicants who are people-oriented which is a great way to say it. Someone who can handle working in a fast-paced environment. It’s not constantly like that, but when it is it’s at superspeed. What people need to know is there are days where you know the work you did generally helped someone. Without the job you did, their lives could have taken a much different turn. Sometimes it’s all you need to renew your love for the job, and there’s a lot of it which goes on in here. We are looking for someone to become part of a team, and we all have different strengths we play off of. We want to make the absolute most cohesive center we can.”

“This position has some substantial weight to it,” chief Johnson added. “You are seeing the world differently from this chair, and you are the first-person people will talk to when they have a problem. You will meet with people who are as happy as they have ever been, and as sad as they have ever been. There is no better way to touch the lives of people in need. It can be challenging and does take a toll, but like policework it is very rewarding if you are looking for a career with substance and comradery. We are a very healthy team; we have people who care deeply about each other and go out of their way for each other every day. If you come to work here, you will be treated like you are part of a family to the greatest degree. We are also very fortunate because we have a very wise and supportive mayor and city council. From our agency’s perspective, those are the building blocks we need to win, and we are very grateful for those things.”

“You are going to have to make decisions on the fly which are life-altering for everyone involved,” Johnson continued. “There will be times when you are sitting in here and there is a fire, a traffic stop, a car crash, and domestic violence all happening at the same time. Sometimes it is tempting to just not recognize this fact and go, ‘How do we just deal with more craziness?’ It’s far more about recognizing you just did something significant, and just changed the world for people in this community.”