Getting to know Telecommunications Supervisor Ed Kavanaugh

We had 11 questions for Telecommunications Supervisor Ed Kavanaugh in our ongoing series to get to know Division of Public Safety staff members. Ed works in the University of Illinois Police telecommunications room, which is the first point of contact for people who come in or call seeking assistance. Telecommunicators also serve a critical role in assisting police officers on the street by checking records or security cameras when there is a crime in progress, among many other duties.

How long have you worked for the Division of Public Safety?

More than 15 years.

What’s a typical day like for you?

While supervising the dispatch and records areas, the typical day can go from monotonous to stressful in the blink of an eye. The “typical day” would include ensuring morning reports are completed and various units on campus are notified about overnight events that that are pertinent to that unit.

What’s your favorite part of your job? What’s the worst?

Favorite: Being involved in some way with every part of our department. Whether it be assisting patrol during a particular call or helping the detective unit after the fact. My role also keeps me involved with many people and units throughout our campus including Facilities and Services, Campus Recreation, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, the Registrar, etc. I could go on and on.

Worst: Being in the dispatch room when a call turns bad and the helpless feeling you have when coworkers/friends may be in trouble. It does however provide the incentive to be the best you can be and try to anticipate officers need to provide help in any way I can.

What is one thing that makes you different?

The one thing that makes me different is that I am interchangeable with many of my coworkers. Is that an oxymoron? Supervising the dispatch area makes my office the first point of contact for the campus. I have to know at least a little bit of what everything this department does. I think that makes me unique.

What is something you’d like to see changed on campus or in the community?

I would love for the campus community to become more personally involved in security for the overall campus. Simple things such as locking doors, making sure dormitory doors aren’t propped open, and calling when something seems ‘not right’ can make such a tremendous difference.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Champaign-Urbana?

Billy Barooz. It’s close to home, but that has allowed me to get to know the wonderful staff.

What’s one of your funniest or fondest memories at the University of Illinois Police Department/Division of Public Safety?

Certainly not the funniest moment but my most memorable call was in December 2013. It was break time and the campus area was deserted. I happened to catch movement in the corner of my eye of a man falling off a loading dock and striking his head severely. The medics stated he could have bled out in 30 minutes had it not been seen. I felt like I made a difference for that person on that particular night.

If given the chance, who would you choose to be for a day?

Joe Maddon. How cool would it be to call Wrigley Field your office? Also, it wouldn’t be horrible to have thousands of people wanting to buy you dinner and drinks.

What is your motto in life?

Live hard and play hard. Enjoy your friends and spend time with family.

If you had once in a lifetime front-row tickets and a backstage pass to meet a recording artist, who would it be?

Journey. But I must qualify that with the Steve Perry-led Journey. The best voice ever in rock history.

What’s something you would like to tell students?