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Meet UCPD: Public Safety Dispatcher Theresa Thomsen

Theresa Thomsen

No matter when you call UCLA PD, day or night, someone will be there to answer it. The person you might hear on the other line is Theresa Thomsen, who has been a Public Safety Dispatcher with UCPD since 1994.

“We never know what each day may bring,” she says, as Theresa needs to respond to any and all issues that may require a UCPD response. To do so she monitors multiple radio channels, police and fire alarms, and answers both the business and 911 phone lines. Calls can come in not just from the main campus in Westwood, but wherever UCLA has a footprint whether it’s off-campus housing or administrative, educational, and medical buildings throughout the area.

Being a dispatcher isn’t Theresa’s first position with UCPD, as she started as a Community Service Officer (CSO) in 1988, serving as a driver, trainer, supervisor, and manager. At the same time she was studying Political Science at UCLA, graduating in 1991 but continuing to work part-time at UCPD until becoming a full-time employee three years later.

Her current job not only involves day-to-day functions but also training and supervision. “Every day is different,” she says. “Some days can be slow and calm, while others are busy, hectic, and exciting. But every day tests my knowledge and abilities and makes me wonder what could happen next.”

As for what Theresa likes best about working at UCPD, it’s the people who she’s gotten to know through the years. “The camaraderie among coworkers has made UCPD an amazing place to work, and I am incredibly lucky to have built so many lasting friendships during my time at UCPD.”