How To Become A Police Dispatcher
A police dispatcher is just one of many careers within the fields of law enforcement and emergency response. These professionals answer 9-1-1 calls, provide assistance and support over the phone and coordinate emergency help. If you are interested in serving your community and becoming a police dispatcher, there are some training and skills required for the job.
In this article, we explore what a police dispatcher does and how you can become one.
S For Becoming A Fire And Police Dispatcher
Applicants for fire and police dispatch jobs should be US citizens or have the appropriate work authorization and be at least 18 years of age. Note that to be eligible for hire in some emergency call centers, US citizenship is required. The minimum education required for a police dispatcher is a high school diploma or GED, though some communications centers may prefer applicants who have college credit. According to O*NET OnLine, in most cases, at least a high school diploma or its equivalent is required to become a police, fire, or ambulance dispatcher, and 10% of respondents in this career believe that new entrants should hold an associateâs degree.1
Many hiring agencies place a premium on customer service experience, especially experience in fast-paced call centers. Earning experience in telecommunications and customer service also serves prospective dispatchers well by providing skills development in multitasking and communication. Those who have these skills and are hired as emergency dispatchers will be trained on the use of emergency response databases and applications during 911 operator training. The typical steps to become a police dispatcher are similar to the following:
Basic Communications Officer Training Program Highlights
Length of Program: 40 Hours
Tuition: FREE for new Public Safety Communications Officers/Telecommunicators employed by a local governmental agency in Georgia $600 for those who have been employed longer than six months. Tuition cannot be refunded after the student has begun a class. Please note the ending dates and times of all classes to ensure completion in a timely manner.
Special considerations: This is a high demand course that always has a waiting list. Registration for each course opens up to 90 days prior to the start date. Once a student has been registered for a class, they will automatically be placed on the waiting list, and will continue to show a waiting list status until student selection is conducted by the course coordinator. Student selection for each course offering is completed six weeks prior to the start date of the class.
What Is The Work Environment Like For Police Dispatchers
This job is typically performed within a call center, where police dispatchers can answer phones and use computers to aid the dispatch process. Dispatchers usually work in eight-hour shifts, but overtime is common.
Due to the nature of the work, police dispatching can be a very high-pressure job. Dispatchers take many calls throughout their shift, each one of which can be a potentially stressful, time-sensitive or dangerous situation. As a dispatcher, you should also be prepared for listening to difficult situations.
How To Become A 911 Dispatcher
The emergency number field is diverse and offers a lot of opportunities to those who find their calling in it, but how does someone become a 911 dispatcher or call taker? At the end of January, the NCT911 training program launched its first ever virtual/in-person hybrid Regional Telecommunicator Academy, which trains brand new 911 dispatchers and call takers on the foundation training theyll need to be successful in their new careers. A 911 telecommunicator is the umbrella term for both 911 call takers, who typically answer 911 calls, and 911 dispatchers, who typically dispatch from the radio.
If youre researching the qualifications, skills, and education youll need to launch your career as a 911 dispatcher, look no further. Weve created this guide to help you on your 911 journey.
What qualifications will I need?
Before you start applying for 911 telecommunicator jobs, make sure you have or can obtain the necessary qualifications. For those searching in Texas, these are a little more strict than in other states.
What skill sets will help me succeed?
So, you know you have or can obtain the necessary qualifications, but what type of skills do you need to be hired as a 911 dispatcher? Some of these are pretty obvious, but there are a few characteristics of a good telecommunicator that may surprise you.
- Customer Service
- Typing Accuracy
- Self Awareness
Where can I find a job as a 911 dispatcher?
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Your California Privacy Rights
If you are a California resident, you have the additional data rights listed below. You can exercise some of these rights by utilizing the prompts within messages we send you within your account settings, or within the privacy settings on our web pages. Otherwise, you are also able to exercise these rights by contacting our support team using the privacy support emails listed at the end of this Policy. Please note, if we cannot verify your identity we may deny certain data right requests. You can designate an authorized agent to submit requests on your behalf, but we require written proof of the agents permission and verify your identity directly.
California Civil Code Section 1798.83 permits our visitors who are California customers to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal data to third parties for the third parties direct marketing purposes. To make such a request please send a letter to: Governmentjobs.com, Inc., 300 Continental Blvd. Suite 565, El Segundo, CA 90245 Attn: Privacy Department. Requests must include California Privacy Rights Request in the first line of the description and include your name, street address, city, state, and ZIP code. Please note Governmentjobs is not required to respond to requests made by means other than through the provided mail address.
Overview Of Your Data Rights
Your data rights for personal data where we are the data controller.
You can review and enforce your personal data rights through your account, communications you receive from us, third party mechanisms, or with the assistance of our support team using the emails at the end of this Policy. For instance, you can:
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Pass A Background Check
All potential law enforcement and emergency response professionals are required to complete and pass a background check during the application process. Police dispatchers will also have a background check due to the sensitivity of their role, including their access information through the Criminal Justice Information Services .
A background check typically includes the following elements:
This includes any convictions and arrests. In most cases, felony convictions can make you ineligible for a police dispatcher role. But minor charges may be up to the discretion of the employing call center. The background check will also search the criminal and terrorist watch lists.
In some cases, the applicant will also need to provide information about their immediate family. This may include personal information to review criminal history for those individuals as well. The background check may also examine your child support history and remove applicants who were found delinquent.
A polygraph test is a series of questions while hooked up to a machine that lets the test administrator know if you’re telling the truth. The polygraph isn’t often used for police dispatcher jobs, but in some cases, they may want to verify your information as a part of their hiring process.
Employers That Recruited In The Last 2 Years
- Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest in compiling information to maintain operator work records using computerized or manual methods and in monitoring personnel workloads and locations
Interest in operating computer-aided communications and dispatching equipment to process and transmit information and instructions to co-ordinate the activities of vehicle operators, crews and equipment and in dispatching personnel according to written schedules, work orders and as required by emergency situations
Interest in speaking with vehicle operators to advise on route and traffic problems such as construction, accidents, congestion, weather conditions and weight and size restrictions
The interest code helps you figure out if youd like to work in a particular occupation. Its based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory , which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.
Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.
A code in capital letters means its a strong fit for the occupation.
A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.
Dispatchers duties vary. In general, they:
Taxi dispatchers send taxicabs in response to calls for service. They take requests for cabs, inform drivers by radio or telephone, and log the calls and addresses given to each driver.
Emergency services dispatchers might work for protective, industrial, medical, fire or police services. They:
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Is There A Way To Experience Call Dispatching Before Applying
Some call centers offer what is called a “sit-along.” With a sit-along, you can sit inside the call center with one of the agents and experience what their work is like. This is perhaps the best way to see if becoming a police dispatcher is something you would like to do. You should contact a dispatch center near you and see if they offer this opportunity. You may need to pass a background check before participating in a sit-along.
Meeting The General Job Requirements
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Identify 911 Dispatcher Employers
One of the best ways for individuals to locate 911 dispatchers is to find the states public safety answering points , which are defined as primary points of contact for individuals who dial 911. In addition to primary PSAPs, there may also be a number of professional opportunities throughout a states secondary PSAPs, centers to which calls are transferred after being received at the primary PSAP.
The FCC maintains a master list of PSAPs located throughout the country for easy reference.
PSAPs may be found at dedicated call centers, police stations, fire departments, and public safety departments. Depending on the state in which the PSAP is located, it may be organized at the county level or the city level, and in many states, PSAPs represent a coordinated effort between a number of counties, cities, towns or municipalities.
Needed Skills And Job Requirements For 911 Dispatchers
Before you actually apply to be a 911 operator, we recommend that you fully understand the details about the position you want, which should be listed within the PSAPs official website and/or on a local job posting site.
The typical job responsibilities for a 911 operator/dispatcher include the following:
- Fielding incoming calls pertaining to police, fire and other emergency medical services
- Figuring out best response practices and prioritizing situations
- Questioning callers to determine their location and the nature of the emergency
- Capturing and inputting data from automated data systems and teletype networks
- Recording details of all calls, dispatches and messages
Additionally, the main skills sets and knowledge needed for the actual position of the job are often outlined in the details of the position.
911 dispatchers should exhibit the following traits:
Participate in Preliminary Employment Testing and Training
To become a 911 operator, or 911 dispatcher, usually involves an in-depth process. It can include the following:
- one-on-one interview
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Your Nevada Privacy Rights
A sale under Nevada law is the exchange of personal data for monetary consideration. We do not currently sell personal data as defined under Nevada law. If you want to submit a request relating to our compliance with Nevada law, please contact us at the privacy support emails listed at the end of this Policy.
Average Training Program Duration: 0
The time that it takes to go through training depends on the certification that you want and the place where you work.
Some employers require three-day training programs before you can take the exam to become certified.
Some let you take it right away.
Talk to your employer to see what the requirements are for you.
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Working As A 911 Dispatcher In California
While researching how to become a 911 dispatcher in California, candidates will be curious about what exactly is involved while working as an emergency operator. It is contradictory to say there are typical emergency situations, but it can be said that some emergency situations are more far reaching than others. In addition to coordinating the response to some of the more common police, fire, and medical emergencies, public safety dispatchers may also find themselves fielding calls in the midst of natural disasters, active shooter emergencies and other critical incidents and large-scale events.
Education And Training For 911 Dispatchers In California
Each emergency dispatch agency has its own certification and 911 operator training standards. Throughout California, emergency dispatchers receive training or hold additional certification through these agencies:
- Public Safety Dispatchers Basic Course
- Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Certification
- Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials Certification
- Emergency Medical Dispatch Certification
- California Fire Chiefs Association Communications Section Certification
- Fire Dispatch Training Certification
- Radio Training Program Certification
From disrupting terrorist attacks and mass shootings, to responding to hostage situations and executing high-risk warrants, the increased focus that Californias state and municipal law enforcement agencies have been placing on tactical training and response capabilities is more important than ever. Public safety dispatchers in the state play a vital role in supporting critical incident commanders in these high-stakes situations. The dedicated public safety dispatchers that work as part of Public Safety Tactical Dispatcher Teams to provide support for critical incident operations participate in specialty training through the California Association of Tactical Trainers :
- SWAT Tactical Dispatcher Course
- Advanced Tactical Dispatcher Course
A professional background and/or degree major in the following areas are directly relevant to the 911 dispatcher job description in California:
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Education Choices For 911 Dispatchers In Georgia
Having additional education beyond high school can be quite beneficial. Taking college coursework in telecommunications, emergency management and criminal justice as well as courses that help to increase ones typing speed and computer skills is a good idea for anyone who wishes to become a 911 dispatcher in Georgia.
The following degree programs lend themselves well to any student who aspires to become a 911 dispatcher:
- Associate of Science in Emergency Management
- Associate of Arts in Communications
- Bachelor of Arts in Communications
- Certificate in Fire and Emergency Services
Georgia state law requires that all 911 dispatchers in the state, regardless of their employer, complete 40 hours of training and become certified as a Communications Officer through the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council within their first six months of employment. This training is offered by the Georgia Public Training Safety Center in Forsyth. Their program, Basic Communications Officer , is open to all who are employed as 911 dispatchers by a Georgia public safety agency and lasts for one week. Courses within this program include:
- Radio broadcast techniques
Police Dispatcher Duties & Responsibilities
Make no mistake, working as a dispatcher can be incredibly stressful. Dispatchers are often responsible for doing double duty as 911 operators. They take calls for service then send law enforcement to the scene. Dispatchers have a variety of duties, such as the following:
- Acting as the first point of contact for people in desperate need of help, people who may not even be coherent when they make the call
- Make sense of what the caller is dealing with
- Make sure people get the exact emergency services they need
- Monitor and record the location of on-duty police officers
- Take both 911 and non-emergency calls for service
- Perform driver’s license and wanted-person queries
- Assign case numbers and record case notes
- Use computers and computer-aided dispatch
- Monitor police radio traffic
- Dispatch patrol officers to calls for service
- Provide assistance to officers by contacting other services as needed
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