Path To Being A Dispatcher

Recruitment Process

Communications Dispatcher I is an entry level position. The recruitment process for Dispatcher I is a lengthy process, requiring commitment and follow through of the applicant. After submitting an application for employment the process is as follows:

CritiCall Testing:  Applicants who meet the basic job requirements are invited to take part in this computer based test. This test measures various skills such as multitasking, reading comprehension and typing skills of perspective applicants.

Oral Board Interviews: Upon successful completion of the CritiCall Test, applicants are  offered an invitation to take part in interviews. Applicants will interview face to face with a panel made up of three Communications Dispatchers. Applicants will be asked several questions to determine the applicant’s relevant experience and qualifications for a position as Dispatcher I.

Background Investigation: Applicants who successfully complete the interview process will be invited to continue in the hiring process and begin the background portion of recruitment. Applicants will be subjected to a complete law enforcement background check including reference and criminal history checks. This background process is critical to determining an applicant’s qualifications for the position.

Polygraph Examination: Applicants involved in the background process will be subjected to a thorough polygraph examination. This examination is based on the information provided during background interviews and the applicant’s answers to personal history questioners.

Psychological Examination: Applicants involved in the background process will be subjected to a psychological examination and interview. This process is conducted to measure an applicant’s suitability for the position as a Communications Dispatcher I.

Medical Examination: Applicants who successfully complete the background process will be subjected to a basic medical examination. This is required by California P.O.S.T it is conducted to measure the applicant's readiness for the position.

Conditional Job Offer: Applicants who successfully complete the hiring and recruitment process will be issued a conditional offer of employment. This is a probationary position within Santa Clara County Communications Department totaling 18 months in length and requires successful completion of the Basic Dispatch Academy and Communications Training Program during that time. This is a paid position.

What To Expect Upon Hire

Santa Clara County Communications is responsible for providing 9-1-1 and Dispatching Services for both Law Enforcement, Medical and Fire agencies in the County. The Communications Dispatcher I position is an entry level position and focuses on Law Enforcement Dispatching and 9-1-1 call taking. Dispatchers may promote to Communications Dispatcher II & III at the end of their probationary period. This requires additional training in EMS, Fire Dispatching and call answering.

Dispatcher Training Process:  Upon being offered a conditional offer of employment as a Communications Dispatcher I, Trainees are required to take part in several phases of training during their probationary period.

Basic Dispatch Academy: Santa Clara County Communications offers its Trainees an in house training academy experience. The purpose of the Academy is to teach Trainees the basic fundamentals of law enforcement dispatching and call-taking. The academy is eight weeks in length, Monday through Friday and challenges the Trainee with an intensive academic schedule. Trainees receive instruction daily on curriculum ranging from police procedures and policy to operation of the department’s computer aided dispatch system.

Trainees are tested almost daily and expected to maintain a minimum passing score of 80% in all categories. In order to successfully graduate, Trainees must complete the Academies combined final and practical examination. Trainees are tested for their ability to retain knowledge accumulated throughout the Academy and successfully demonstrate their ability to manipulate the computer aided dispatch system while processing information.

Communication Training Officer Phase:  Upon successful completion of the Dispatch Academy, Trainees enter into the Communications Training Officer phase of training (CTO). The CTO phase is approximately thirty-two weeks and broken into eight week segments.

Trainees are assigned a CTO who monitors, instructs and evaluates the Trainees progress throughout the CTO phase. This process allows the Trainee the ability to put into play, the skills and knowledge learned during the Dispatch Academy. This phase is carried out in the 9-1-1 center providing the Trainee the ability to handle active emergencies both while answering telephone calls and handling radio traffic.

Trainees are evaluated weekly on their progress during the CTO phase. As Trainees progress and begin to demonstrate competence in several evaluated areas, they are provided sign-off at various positions within the 9-1-1 center. Once Trainees have completed the CTO phase of training they will be allowed to work independently as a Communications Dispatcher I.

Upon completion of the probationary period, a Communication Dispatcher I is capable of promoting to a Communications Dispatcher II or III. This requires training as Medical and or fire Dispatcher.

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