DISPATCH SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS

Job Description

  • Dispatchers provide a critical role in the delivery of emergency police, fire and medical services

  • Civilian employee for Police Departments, County Sheriff's Departments or Communication Centers

  • Technically challenging work requiring specific abilities and intensive training Skills Needed

  • Ability to exercise a high degree of good judgment and independence while evaluating emergency and non-emergency situations and the ability to make split-second decisions

  • Ability to multi-task, gather and disseminate information clearly, accurately and rapidly in urgent situations

  • Ability to calm irate and hysterical persons

  • Ability to operate a wide variety of computers, radios and recording equipment

Job Duties

  • Primary job responsibilities include answering 9-1-1 emergency calls for police, fire and medical assistance

  • Ensure correct resources are sent to each call for assistance

  • Determine priority, nature and location of calls for assistance

  • Maintain the status of public safety personnel when dispatched for service

  • Keep complete and accurate records, logs and reports

 

Minimum Qualifications

  • High school graduate, General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or California Proficiency Certificate

  • One year of customer service experience

  • Ability to type a minimum of 30 wpm

  • Ability to pass a thorough background investigation and psychological screening

  • Willing and able to work Day, Swing and Midnight shifts

  • Willing and able to work weekends and holidays

  • Willing and able to work mandatory overtime during critical incidents

How do I prepare? 

  • Practice typing to ensure minimum speed requirement will be met

  • Practice typing what you hear, as you hear it.

  • Practice typing while YOU talk. It's not that easy! You'll need this skill...

  • Make arrangements to "sit-along" or tour a variety of Communications Centers.

  • Know that it is nothing like the movies. Every Communications Center is different.

  • Practice listening skills. Watch TV and read a book, listen to the radio at the same time.

  • Learn how to read a map, and to give directions to someone over the phone.

  • Learn the phonetic alphabets (both of 'em!) and practice saying license plates out loud.
    "Three David Adam Henry Four Seven Nine" or "Three Delta Alpha Hotel Four Seven Nine."

  • Check around for Public Safety Communications courses at local community colleges.

  • Take 1st Aid & CPR courses -- it might not be a requirement, but it's a valuable skill.

  • Buy or borrow a radio scanner. Listen to the professionals! 

Frequently Asked Questions  

Q: How old do I have to be to apply?

A: 18 years of age to apply, there is no other age limit.​

Q: Do I have to complete the POST Public Safety Dispatcher Course prior to submitting my application?

A: No, completing the POST Public Safety Dispatcher Course is not a requirement at the time your application is submitted. 

Q: If I am an out-of-state applicant can I consolidate any part(s) of the hiring process?

A: A limited amount of consolidation could occur during the hiring process. 

 

Q: Do I need to be a U.S. Citizen to apply?

A: You would need to be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident alien who is eligible and has applied for citizenship.​

 

Q: Will poor credit, a bankruptcy, or bills in collections be a disqualifier during the hiring process?

A: Not necessarily, each application will be reviewed and considered on a case-by-case basis. 

 

Q: What is the policy on marijuana use?

A: Use of marijuana within 1 year of your application date would be a disqualifier.

 

Q: Can I still apply with a DUI conviction?

A: 1 DUI conviction within 3 years of your application or 2 DUI convictions would be a disqualifier.

 

Q: Will moving violation convictions (traffic tickets) disqualify me from the hiring process?

A: 3 or more moving violations within the past 3 years would be a disqualifier.

 

Q: Can I do a sit-along in dispatch during the hiring process?

A: If you reach the background process a sit-along with be scheduled for you by your background investigator.

 

Q: If I am disqualified at any point during the hiring process can I reapply?

A: Yes, you may reapply every 30 days.