Emergency Dispatch

Job Descriptions
The following job descriptions have been culled from various public safety offices in California to give you an idea of what is required for various jobs.

Sheriff's Communications Dispatcher I Trainee
Duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  1. Receives emergency calls, complaints and inquiries from the public.
  2. Screens calls and obtains pertinent information so as to determine nature of the call and its urgency.
  3. Enters calls into the Computer Aided Dispatch system via a CRT terminal for dispatch; may determine and override the assigned priority code, following established guidelines.
  4. Provides general information regarding laws, regulations and department policy; transfers fire, medical or other calls to appropriate agencies.
Minimum Requirements:
Experience:
Option A: Completion of a 120-hour P.O.S.T. certified Dispatcher Academy.
Option B: Six months of call intake or emergency dispatching experience, performed for a law enforcement agency, fire department, or ambulance service.
Option C: Twelve months of experience which involved substantial public contact.
- AND -

Keyboarding Certificate: This position requires typing skills of 35 wpm. A recent certificate of typing speed is also required. Certificate must be from a qualified agency


Fire Dispatcher
One of the most challenging civilian jobs in the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department is that of Fire Dispatcher. Dispatchers work at a fast pace under constant pressure. They quickly learn to multi-task; often listening to a caller, typing 9-1-1 information and monitoring radio traffic at the same time.

The Fire Dispatcher receives and evaluates requests for fire and emergency medical service and dispatches appropriate equipment to the incident and performs related work.

Examples of Fire Dispatcher Duties:
  1. Receives incoming 9-1-1 telephone calls and evaluates requests for fire and emergency medical services.
  2. Elicits essential incident information from callers.
  3. Determines the nature and extent of the request, the priority of the problem, and the need for dispatching a fire and/or paramedic unit.
  4. Evaluates the urgency of medical requests.
  5. Determines the appropriate units to dispatch.
  6. Dispatches and relays essential information by radio or intercom to units.
  7. Monitors emergency frequencies.
  8. Maintains the fire unit availability status board.
  9. Answers routine inquiries and refers calls not requiring dispatches to responsible departments and agencies.
Minimum Qualifications for Fire Dispatcher:
  • One year experience receiving and dispatching requests for fire emergency medical services to Fire and Paramedic units by radio or intercom.


Communications Operator
To operate a computer aided dispatch system receiving calls and dispatching police, fire or other City services. Communications Operators are expected to independently perform the full range of duties assigned. This class is distinguished from the Senior Communications Operator in that the latter provides technical and functional supervision over assigned communication personnel.

Supervision Received and Exercised

Receives general supervision from a Senior Communications Operator. May receive supervision from the on duty watch commander in the absence of communications supervisors.

Important and Essential Duties
  1. Receives emergency and non-emergency calls from the public, private companies and other jurisdictions.
  2. Dispatch police and fire personnel or other City services in response to such calls.
  3. Relays emergency and non emergency information to public safety personnel in the field.
  4. Relays information to other agencies as required.
  5. Monitors multiple frequencies.
  6. Maintains accurate record of location and status of public safety units.
  7. Operates a manual dispatch system when necessary.
  8. Assists in relaying information during response to natural disasters.
  9. Performs related duties as assigned.
Job Related and Essential Qualifications:
Knowledge of:
  • - English usage, including comprehension and grammar.
Ability to:
  • - Read and comprehend information and instructions.
  • - Learn to operate manual and computer aided radio and telephone equipment in dispatching public safety equipment and personnel.
  • - Perform several job tasks effectively under pressure for sustained periods of time.
  • - Memorize and retain information from a variety of sources.
  • - Interpret information from distraught, incoherent or angry callers and relay critical facts to appropriate emergency or nonemergency personnel.
  • - Assign priorities both to incoming calls and to the dispatch of calls for service.
  • - Speak clearly and concisely via radio, telephone and in person.
  • - Respond to requests for emergency and nonemergency services in a professional and courteous manner.
  • - Type accurately at a speed of 35 words per minute.
  • - Work various shifts, including day, swing and graveyard as well as weekends and holidays.
  • - Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.
Experience and Training

Any combination of experience and training that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the required knowledge and abilities would be:
    Experience: Heavy public contact experience while performing multiple tasks simultaneously. Public safety dispatch experience is desirable.

    Education: Equivalent to the completion of the twelfth grade.
Special Requirements:

Essential duties require the following physical abilities and work environment:

Flexibility of work hours and overtime; stamina for sedentary console operation and dispatching; ability to reach for computer printers, telephones, and radio equipment; dexterity to operate computer keyboards; answer phones; hear tones, signals and radio and phone traffic; read computer screens; and remain calm in emergency situations.


Source: City of Hayward, California


Communications Manager
To oversee and direct the police and fire communication center operations within the Police Department and implement policies and procedures that will maximize efficiency for calls for service.

Supervision Received and Exercised

Receives general direction from the Operations Support Director. Exercises direct and indirect supervision over the Communication Supervisors and Communication Operators.

Essential Duties - Essential responsibilities and duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  1. Manage the twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week operation of the Communication Center.
  2. Plan, coordinate and conduct training and professional development of the Communications Center, line personnel in Police and Fire Departments.
  3. Oversee day to day liaison function to ensure meeting dispatching needs of both the Police and Fire Departments.
  4. Monitor and analyze shift reports relative to the dispatch function; oversee investigations of complaints regarding Police/Fire communications operations.
  5. Development and implementation of new policies, procedures, programs and goals/objectives for the Communication Center.
  6. Maintains communication with public safety personnel regarding Communications Center issues; attends line-ups, special operations briefings and inter-agency meetings and committees to ensure current information is available to the Communication Center.
  7. Prepares and monitors the Communication Center's budget.
  8. Responds to emergency situations which may arise in the communications center during off-duty hours.
  9. Participates in the selection of staff.
  10. May be assigned to act in the absence of the Operations Support Director.
  11. Performs related duties as assigned.
Qualifications - Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
Knowledge of:
  • - Public safety emergency dispatching equipment procedures and practices.
  • - City, county, state and federal law enforcement computer systems.
  • - Correct English usage, spelling, punctuation, grammar and report writing.
  • - Communications rules and regulations governing the operation of radio transmitting and receiving systems.
  • - Police and Fire Department procedures, functions and reporting relationships.
  • - Operation and procedures of fire and law enforcement offices.
  • - Modern office management practices and methods; computer equipment and software.
  • - Supervisory principles and practices.
  • - Pertinent Federal, State, and local laws, codes and general laws.
Ability to:
  • - Meet and deal effectively and courteously with the public.
  • - Communicate clearly and concisely, orally and in writing.
  • - Keep records and prepare reports.
  • - Plan, organize and supervise the work of others and to develop staff through formal and informal training sessions and materials.
  • - Communicate effectively at all levels with the public, department and city staff.
  • - Interpret and develop policies and procedures.
  • - Carry forward several projects simultaneously, set priorities and makes sound decisions as circumstances require.
  • - Prepare and monitor a budget.
Experience and Training

Any combination of experience and training that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the required knowledge and abilities would be:
    Experience: Three years of supervisory experience in emergency dispatching comparable to that of a Communications Supervisor in the City of Hayward.

    Education: Equivalent to the completion of the twelfth grade and supplemented by college level course work in supervision/management and general business. Education equivalent to an Associate of Arts degree in Administration of Justice, Business or Public Administration is highly desirable.

    License or Certificate: Possession of the Basic POST Dispatch Course Certificate of Completion.
Special Requirements:

Essential duties require the mental and/or physical ability to: work in a standard office environment; perform repetitive hand movements and fine coordination to prepare documents and data using a computer keyboard and mouse/trackball, use standard office equipment; sit for prolonged periods of time; converse by telephone, in person, and to small groups and be clearly understood; safely lift and carry boxes or files weighing up to 35 pounds; and interact with the public and all different levels of City staff in a professional manner.


Source: City of Hayward, California


Communications Supervisor
To provide lead and shift supervision to communication staff in a centralized communications center; and to operate radio and telephone equipment in dispatching public safety equipment, personnel or other City services.

This is the supervisory class in the Communications Operator series. Employees perform the most difficult and responsible types of duties assigned to classes within this series including providing technical and functional supervision over communication personnel. Employees at this level are required to be fully trained in all procedures related to assigned area of responsibility.

Supervision Received and Exercised

Receives general direction from the Communications Manager. In the absence of the Communications Manager, incumbent may receive supervision from the on-duty watch commander.

Exercises the day to day technical and functional supervision over assigned communication personnel.

Essential Duties - Essential responsibilities and duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  1. Receives emergency and non-emergency calls from the public, private companies and other jurisdictions.
  2. Dispatch police and fire personnel, equipment or other City services in response to calls.
  3. Relays emergency and non-emergency information to public safety personnel in the field as required.
  4. Supervises day to day operation of assigned shift; directs and monitors work flow.
  5. Prepares work schedules and assigns personnel to various tasks required within assigned shifts, and ensures good customer services to internal and external customers.
  6. Evaluates performance of assigned communications personnel; work with employees to correct deficiencies; implement disciplinary procedures; and counsels employees.
  7. Approves days off and vacation requests from Communications Operators and coordinates replacements for vacancies; schedules emergency and short term assignments of communications personnel.
  8. Assists in the development and implementation of new policies, procedures, programs and goals/objectives for the Communication Center.
  9. Assists in identifying training needs and the design of training programs; supervises and/or provides training to employees and other City department personnel on Communication Center operations.
  10. Maintains communication with public safety personnel regarding Communications Center issues; attends line-ups, special operations briefings and inter-agency meetings to ensure current information is available to the Communication Center.
  11. Maintain 24-hour logging tapes, including furnishing copies of tapes for investigations and courts; and testify in court.
  12. May be assigned to act in the absence of the Manager.
  13. Performs related duties as assigned.
Qualifications - Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
Knowledge of:
  • - Manual and computer aided emergency communication equipment, procedures and practices.
  • - County, state and federal law enforcement computer systems.
  • - English usage, including comprehension and grammar.
  • - Communications rules and regulations governing the operation of radio transmitting and receiving systems.
  • - Principles of supervision, training, and performance evaluation.
  • - Pertinent Federal, State, and local laws, codes and general law enforcement procedures.
Ability to:
  • - Plan, assign and evaluate the work of others.
  • - Operate manual and computer aided radio and telephone equipment in dispatching public safety equipment and personnel.
  • - Perform several job tasks effectively under pressure for sustained periods of time.
  • - Memorize and retain information from a variety of sources.
  • - Teach procedures and equipment operation to others.
  • - Interpret information from distraught, incoherent or angry callers and relay critical facts to appropriate emergency or nonemergency personnel.
  • - Assign priorities both to incoming calls and to dispatch of calls for service.
  • - Respond to request for emergency and nonemergency services in a professional and courteous manner.
  • - Speak clearly and concisely in an understandable voice via radio and telephone and in person.
  • - Type accurately at a speed of 35 words per minute.
  • - Work various shifts, including day, swing and graveyard as well as weekends and holidays.
  • - Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.
Experience and Training

Any combination of experience and training that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the required knowledge and abilities would be:
    Experience: Two years of responsible emergency dispatching experience comparable to the Communications Operator in the City of Hayward.

    Education: Equivalent to the completion of the twelfth grade.

    License or Certificate: Possession of the Basic POST Dispatch Course Certificate of Completion.
Special Requirements:

Essential duties require the mental and/or physical ability to: work in an emergency call center environment; perform repetitive hand movements and fine coordination to enter data using a computer keyboard and mouse/trackball, use standard office equipment; safely lift, carry, and maneuver radio equipment or office supplies weighing up to 35 pounds; in the performance of daily office activities dexterity to operate computer keyboards; answer phones; hear tones, signals and radio and phone traffic as outlined by POST hearing standards; visually read and monitor computer screens; react and remain calm in emergency situations, sit for prolonged periods of time; converse by telephone and be clearly understood; interact with the public and all different levels of City staff in a professional manner.


Source: City of Hayward, California


Police Dispatcher
NOTES:
  1. Salary includes 5% night differential.
  2. Individuals who have a California P.O.S.T. Basic Dispatcher Course Certificate will receive 5% additional pay.
  3. The Police Communications Center is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are five shifts staffing the center day, evening, and night - 10 hours per shift, 4 days a week, with 3 consecutive days off. Dispatchers may be rotated to a different shift every four months.
  4. Possible promotional career opportunities include Police Lead Dispatcher, Police Dispatch Supervisor, Police Dispatch Administrator and Program Communication Manager.
  5. Selected candidates will undergo a comprehensive character and background investigation including a polygraph (lie detector) examination and fingerprint check prior to hire. Felony convictions and misdemeanor domestic violence convictions are disqualifying.
REQUIREMENTS: You must meet the following requirements on the date you apply, unless otherwise indicated.

EDUCATION: Graduation from high school OR passage of the California High School Proficiency Examination OR G.E.D

CITIZENSHIP: You must be a United States citizen or have the legal right to work in the United States.

DUTIES: THIS JOB REQUIRES MULTI-TASKING SKILLS AND THE ABILITY TO MAKE QUICK DECISIONS. Police Dispatchers operate a Computer Aided Dispatch radio console to monitor an assigned radio frequency to identify the status of Police field units. Each Police Dispatcher is responsible for an average of 35 field units at any one time. Duties include dispatching emergency field units by radio voice communication to crime scenes and/or to provide aid and assistance; determining the relative priority for each incident and the needed response for situations ranging from minor vehicle accidents to high speed chases and homicides; updating incident information by typing on a computer console keyboard and broadcasting radio messages to field units during emergencies; taking phone calls from the public; and performing other work as assigned.

HOW TO APPLY: Submit a completed DATA ENTRY FORM and APPLICATION/SUPPLEMENT (the original and ONE copy, including any attachments) for the position. NOTE: If you apply for Police Dispatcher, you will automatically be added as an applicant for #T2665 911 Emergency Dispatcher I (Dispatcher I). If you indicate that you are bilingual, you will also be added as an applicant for #T2666 911 Emergency Bilingual Dispatcher (Dispatcher I – Bilingual: English/Spanish). Specific information regarding these jobs is provided on a separate Employment Opportunity job announcement which has been attached. On the Data Entry Form you should record only one position; all other positions for which you qualify will be automatically added to your file. Your application/supplement will be made available to the hiring department. Please submit requested materials only.

THE SCREENING PROCESS will consist of the following:
  1. APPLICATION: All properly completed applications will be evaluated to ensure the minimum requirements have been met. Only those applicants that meet the requirements specified above will be approved to continue in the screening process.

  2. PERFORMANCE TEST: The Performance Test is a computer based work simulation test that measures the general aptitudes needed to be a Dispatcher. No prior dispatch experience is necessary to pass the test which includes the following 15 test modules: Data Entry: the ability to read written data and accurately enter that data using a keyboard; Data Entry (Audio): the ability to hear audible data and accurately enter that data using a keyboard; Call Summarization 1: the ability to hear, comprehend, and summarize audible information; Call Summarization 2: the ability to hear and comprehend audible information while accurately entering that information using a keyboard, and to subsequently use that information; Cross Referencing: the ability to locate information, requested in writing, on a written list and to correctly/accurately respond using a keyboard; Cross Referencing (Audio): the ability to locate information, requested audibly, on a written list and to correctly/accurately respond using a keyboard. Character Comparison: the ability to compare and contrast written data; Memory Recall: the ability to learn and later recognize associated information; Memory Recall – Numeric (Audio): the ability to hear data (number sequences), memorize it, and then use a keyboard to accurately enter the data; Prioritization: the ability to evaluate and analyze information in order to prioritize or categorize incidents; Map Reading: the ability to use maps for determining routes and locations; Spelling: the ability to correctly spell words according to the context in which they are being used (i.e., homonyms); Sentence Clarity: the ability to select the written passage that is the most clearly written; Reading Comprehension: the ability to read and comprehend written passages; and Decision Making: the ability to make decisions quickly and accurately and to correctly signal the response using a computer . . . QUALIFYING ONLY - WEIGHT 100%

    NOTE: Successful completion of this same Performance Test is also a requirement for "911 Emergency Dispatcher (Dispatcher I)" and "911 Emergency Bilingual Dispatcher (Dispatcher I - Bilingual: English/Spanish)". The qualifying scores required for 911 Emergency Dispatcher (Dispatcher I and Dispatcher I - Bilingual: English/Spanish) are different from those required for Police Dispatcher. Your scores on the Performance Test will determine which position(s) you qualify for.

    Performance Test Notification: Applicants will be notified by mail regarding the date, time and location of the Performance Test.

    Performance Test Scoring: Candidates MUST PASS ALL 15 TEST MODULES in order to successfully complete the Performance Test and be placed on the eligible list.

    RE-EXAMINATION ELIGIBILITY: If you fail the Performance Test (#T2663, #T2666, or #T2665) you may reapply to be retested six months after the date of your most recent application for this examination, provided we are still accepting applications.

    If you pass the Performance Test (#T2663, #T2666, or #T2665) you may reapply once you have expired from the Eligible List.
PERSONAL HISTORY STATEMENT: Successful candidates must submit a Personal History Statement to the Police Department. Information regarding this step of the process will be provided at a later date.

ELIGIBLE LIST: Candidates who are successful in all parts of the screening process described above will be placed on a one category eligible list which will be used to fill position vacancies during the next one year. For each vacancy, candidates may be contacted by the hiring department for an interview.

PRE-EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS: Any employment offer is conditional pending the results of all pre- employment screening processes required for the job, which may include, but are not limited to the following: confirmation of citizenship/legal right to work in the United States; completion of a pre-employment medical review/exam (which may include drug/alcohol testing); reference checks; background investigation; polygraph examination; and a fingerprint check. The fingerprints will be submitted to the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a conviction record report. All of these processes must be successfully completed before employment begins. Note: Misrepresentation, falsification, or omission of pertinent facts in any step of the screening/selection process may be cause for disqualification or termination of employment.


Port Security System Operator I-IV
Definition: Under general supervision, the Port Security System Operator operates the Harbor Department Security Command & Control Center performing security system surveillance, detection and alarm system monitoring and radio dispatching for the Harbor Patrol.

Distinguishing Characteristics:
  • Control Center Operator I - Entry level position

  • Control Center Operator II - Journey level position

  • Control Center Operator III - Advanced journey-level position with responsibility for lead direction and training of lower-level Port Security System Operators.

  • Control Center Operator IV - Supervises an assigned shift of Port Security System Operators.
Examples of Duties:

Port Security System Operator I & II:
  • - Operates and monitors a computerized, integrated system of surveillance cameras, closed-circuit TVs, detection system, alarm systems, on-line data and tracking systems, and other systems of the domain awareness/security infrastructure throughout the Port of Long Beach.
  • - Monitors Port access control systems to ensure no unauthorized access to secure areas by the public, employees or tenants of the Port; follows established protocols to grant access to authorized users.
  • - Identifies, acknowledges and responds to security system alarms of varying levels of significance; quickly assesses conditions and situations based on system information; makes notification decisions based on Port security policies and procedures; activates and coordinates emergency response plans; deploys emergency personnel to investigate and resolve incidents; maintains knowledge and status of the incident response teams; relays information and coordinates backup requirements.
  • - Receives telephone calls on a range of routine to emergency issues; responds to calls requesting Harbor Patrol services and dispatches field units through coded radio messages and a computer assisted dispatch system, when appropriate.
  • - Collects, analyzes and disseminates all intelligence and information gathered regarding real or potential security breaches to internal (Long Beach Police, City of Long Beach EOC, Los Angeles Port Police) and external (U.S. Coast Guard, Joint Regional Intelligence Center) emergency service organizations.
  • - Broadcasts information to appropriate Port and tenant personnel regarding emergencies and hazardous conditions based on protocols and operating procedures; operates public communication systems including notification systems, emergency roadside signs and AM radio station.
  • - Logs and documents all calls requested service/assistance, emergency response incidents and general activity including radio transmissions.
  • - Conducts status checks and reviews the condition of the security system to ensure operational capabilities and to prevent malfunctions; troubleshoots and adjusts the system as directed; provides priority maintenance recommendations; identifies security system improvement needs and submits change requests.
  • - Operates a computer in response to requests from field units in order to retrieve vehicular or personal information for transmittal back to the field.
  • - Performs other related duties as assigned.
Port Security System Operator III:
  • - Performs as shift lead person.
  • - Assists in the training of Port Security System Operator I's & II's and may participcate in evaluating performance.
  • - Performs all work assigned to the Port Security System Operator I and II levels.
  • - Performs other related duties as required.
Post Security System Operator IV:
  • - Plans, assigns and supervises the work of Port Security System Operators I-III.
  • - Participates in selection, training, and evaluating subordinates.
  • - Participates in the development and enhancement of control center systems with primary responsibility for retraining subordinates.
  • - Monitors control center equipment and systems and troubleshoots minor malfunctions.
  • - Participates in the administrative duties of the Port Security System including, but not limited to, the development of on-going training programs.
  • - Performs work assigned to Port Security System Operator I, II, III levels.
  • - Performs other related duties as required.
Qualifications:
  • - Graduation from high school or GED equivalent.
  • - Ability to operate a computer using word processing, database and Windows-based software.
  • - Ability to communicate in English, quickly, clearly and effectively using telephone, radio and computer-assisted dispatch systems, as well as in person.
  • - Ability to pass a thorough background investigation for security clearance.
  • - Ability to monitor, access and operate a variety of integrated security system devices and applications found in the POLB Command & Control Center.
  • - Ability to observe, read and assess the significance of system alarms and data, quickly and accurately, and make logical and rational decisions with limited supervision.
  • - Ability to follow response procedures accurately and calmly.
  • - Ability to maintain detailed security system logs and records.
  • - Ability to prepare clear, accurate reports.
  • - Ability to understand and follow oral instructions and written policies, procedures and protocols.
  • - Ability to work effectively in a team environment.
  • - Ability to deal effectively with POLB tenants, employees and the public.
  • - Willing to work any shift assignment and work holidays and weekends and overtime as required.
  • - Knowledge of methods and procedures in the monitoring and operation of the POLB security system and Command & Control Center.
  • - Knowledge of public safety protocols, technologies and operational procedures.
  • - Knowledge of State and federal laws and Port policies, regulations, rules and procedures regarding Command & Control Center operations and Port-wide security.
  • - Knowledge of operating functions and response requirements in a large, complex port security system.
  • - Knowledge of computer applications related to the POLB Command & Control Center, including modern state-of-the-art security monitoring/control and data acquisitions systems.
Port Security System Operator I:
  • - A minimum of one-year of work experience involving technology-based security systems and customer service; successful completion of an extensive police background investigation; and successful completion of the Port Security Training Program within the first three months of employment.
Port Security System Operator II:
  • - At least one year of work experience as a Port Security System Operator I or three years of experience in a security system operation, military, police, or intelligence organization.