Utah Highway Patrol dispatcher DeAnn Carter-Smith juggles the adrenalin of emergency calls with freelance jobs as a bagpiper.
Smith, 24, is a Payson High graduate who spent three years studying ecology and botany at Southern Utah University. She played with SUU's Scarlet & Black bagpipe band and now freelances for events such as the Utah Peace Officers' memorial ceremony held this spring at the state Capitol.She attributes her interest in bagpiping to her Scottish lineage and the dispatching to her family's history in law enforcement. Her father is an assistant police chief in Payson, and she has an uncle who is also a peace officer. A cousin also works for UHP.
"It's been something I've always grown up with," said Smith, who dispatched for UHP's Cedar City office while attending SUU. "I want to dispatch forever. I can't put my foot on it. It's interesting. It's different from everyday life."
In May, she played interlude music, including a haunting version of "Amazing Grace" at the Capitol rotunda, filled to capacity with peace officers and families of Utah officers killed in the line of duty.
"People say, `Does it make you nervous?' I say, `No, it doesn't.' " That is, she isn't nervous until she gets up to play and all eyes turn to her.
Smith competes in Highland Games activities scheduled throughout the state, specifically to meet people from Scotland, she said. She also plays piano and clarinet and is married with a 13-month-old son.