Meet the officer: City police dispatcher Mary Boeckler

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee Police Department (OPD) emergency dispatch operator Mary Boeckler was born in 1985 in Fort Lauderdale. She has been a full-time resident of the community now for three years but has frequented the area on many occasions prior to her move to Okeechobee. “My parents have a home here that we used to come up and stay in on the weekends. We used to come to fish and go to the rodeos, and one weekend we came up, decided to make it permanent and here I am,” she stated.

Meet the officer: City police dispatcher Mary Boeckler

During her summers, Ms. Boeckler along with her younger sister, who resides in Fort Lauderdale and works in accounting, would spend time with their grandparents. She said, “My grandparents would drive down from North Carolina and pick my sister and I up the day school let out for the summer. They would be sitting in the parking lot waiting for us.”

Ms. Boeckler said they did all sorts of activities while spending time with her family members. “We had picnics, went fishing, swimming, bungee jumping off the porch, vacation Bible School, site seeing, camping, you name it and we did it.” Ms. Boeckler summarized her summertime experiences as the, “best times of my life.” She also had her first job as a summer camp counselor for the City of Wilton Manors.

She is also a fan of baseball, stating it was her favorite game growing up, and played softball while a student at Northeast High School in Oakland Park – where she graduated from in 2004 with her favorite classes being in Art & Design. Ms. Boeckler also said she would like to have lived in the early 1900s so she could see some of baseball’s legends such as George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr., “The Yankee Clipper” Joseph Paul “Joltin’ Joe” DiMaggio and arguably one of the greatest catchers in Johnny Lee Bench play the game firsthand.

Ms. Boeckler also finished the comprehensive Emergency Medical Services program with an Associate of Science degree from City College in Fort Lauderdale. Her initial reason for attending college was to earn a degree and further her education. Ms. Boeckler’s favorite subject to study was cardiology and chose to be a paramedic because she, “wanted to make a difference and save lives.” She said one of her most memorable moments in college was, “being selected to compete in an American Heart Association Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) competition.”

Prior to her current employment with OPD, Ms. Boeckler also worked in the food service industry but found it was not her forte stating, “I was a waitress once, part-time and I wasn’t good at it.”

As a single mother of two children – one boy and one girl – Ms. Boeckler’s answer to how her career has created value in her life as a dispatcher, provides insight on how difficult it can be in today’s economy and society stating, “I want to be something my family can be proud of. I want to teach my children the importance of a good job and benefits. Benefits are huge!”

She said the biggest career influence thus far in her career has been, “fear of failure, not having a career and I also want to be something that my children can be proud of.” Ms. Boeckler is one of many in her family to work in the law enforcement career field. She said, “I am not the first (to work in law enforcement). My grandmother was the first female police officer for her department. She started in dispatch and retired as a sergeant. My uncle is a retired police officer.

I started dispatch in 2007 for the City of Plantation and worked there for a few years before going back to school and becoming a paramedic at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. I had intentions of working for the fire department, until I moved here. I then began to work with the city police department and enjoyed the law enforcement side. I am very happy here with the city and I am looking forward to a fulfilling career.”

When she’s not working as a dispatch operator, Ms. Boeckler also works part-time as a paramedic in the emergency room of Raulerson Hospital. Ms. Boeckler said she, “loves to refurbish old furniture and decorate, likes to shop at Target, go to the park, travel, work out and walk on main street here in town,” during her spare time from work answering calls along with taking her children to Walt Disney World.

She is also on the board of directors for the Okeechobee Healthy Start Coalition. It is the intent of the Healthy Start legislation to establish a system which guarantees that all women have access to prenatal care and that all infants have access to services that promote normal growth and development. In Okeechobee County, this coalition believes that all women and children (up to the third birthday) should have access to services which promote the health and wellbeing of these county residents.

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