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Police Dispatcher

Police Dispatcher

January 2002


Under general direction, transmits and receives voice messages via digital radio; inputs data into a computer aided dispatch system (CAD); monitors and coordinates the work of law enforcement personnel engaged in general or specialized law enforcement activities and performs related work as required.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The essential duties and responsibilities of the class include the following:

Receives emergency and non-emergency telephone calls for service from the public, allied agencies and field personnel.

Transmits emergency and non-emergency radio communications from field personnel and other law enforcement agencies and transmits/directs a variety of other messages and calls.

Monitors and coordinates activities related to the control and enforcement of law and order.

Uses standard operating procedures in the performance of assigned duties.

Enters information into the CAD system and maintains log of radio transmissions to include time of incoming call, duration and message as needed.

Receives and logs emergency and other messages and secures and records information as to location and type of emergency or incident.

Dispatches personnel and equipment according to standard operating procedure, instructions from a superior or by individual judgment if needed.

Maintains radio contact with assigned personnel and notifies and keeps superiors informed as to emergency situation and general activities.

Notifies ambulance personnel, alarm company, traffic and signal maintenance and other related personnel concerning emergencies.

Testifies in court as needed.

Uses a variety of CAD equipment to include a head set and key board.

Maintains a knowledge of the geography, street locations and landmarks in the City of Fullerton and a general knowledge of the geography and landmarks of surrounding cities.

Generates reports from the computer system as needed.

Trouble shoots computer system problems and reports repair needs to appropriate personnel.

Assists in training new personnel in the operations of the Communications Center including dispatching procedures and the CAD system.

Other Duties and Responsibilities:

Performs minor or routine upkeep and maintenance of equipment.

Performs other projects/tasks as assigned.

Class Characteristics

Police Dispatcher is a multi-incumbent, non-sworn position in the Police Department. Incumbents are responsible for receiving a wide variety of calls requesting assistance and dispatching Police Department staff as may be appropriate, while exercising a substantial degree of judgment and initiative.

Contacts and Relationships:

Incumbents have substantial and continuous radio contact with Police Department field personnel and the public, to include witnesses, victims and suspects under conditions which can be stressful. Contact occurs with a wide variety of callers, to include those of various ages (the very young through senior citizens) in varying emotional states and those with no or limited-English language ability. Other contact occurs and is maintained with other public agencies and Communications Center staff.

Qualification Guidelines:

The knowledge and abilities which are required to perform the duties and responsibilities of this class are as follows:

Knowledge of:

Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations governing the operations of radio receivers and transmitters.

State mandated data bases including drivers license, vehicle registration, warrants and restraining order data bases.

General law enforcement practices.

English usage and grammar.


Ability to:

Analyze situations and adopt quick, effective courses of action.

Learn and effectively use radio codes as well as interpret radio "jargon".

Learn department policies and procedures.

Interpret concise descriptions of complex situations and relay pertinent information.

Exercise self-control and good judgment in emergency situations.

Communicate effectively orally and speak clearly and concisely.

Remember names, numbers and details of incidents.

Use good judgment and make sound decisions in accordance with established procedures and policies.

Maintain the confidentiality of information as prescribed by law.

Operate a CAD console and related equipment.

Read and write at the level required for successful job performance.

Speak to callers using courtesy and tact.

Establish and maintain effective relationships with those contacted in the course of work.

A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities is as follows:


Graduation from high school.



Two years of customer service related or clerical experience to include some customer service experience and some radio, telephone or CAD experience.

Physical Tasks and Working Conditions Include the Following:
Work is performed in a dispatch/communications center environment and requires sitting for prolonged periods of time using a computer keyboard, screen and headset. An incumbent sits and stands and may twist, reach and is exposed to loud voices and digital radio sounds on a regular basis and occasional radio feed back. An incumbent must be able to meet the physical requirements of the class and have mobility, vision, hearing and dexterity levels appropriate to the duties to be performed.
Special Requirements:

Must be able to work a flexible schedule to accommodate City needs. Shift work and work on weekends and holidays is required. Incumbents are subject to overtime and call back.

Must be able to successfully pass a Police Department pre-employment screening process.

Type at a net speed of 30 words per minute.

For Regular Employment: Ability to obtain or possession of a Dispatch Academy Public Safety Dispatcher Certificate issued by Police Officer Standards and Training (POST).

For Non Regular Employment: Possession of a Dispatch Academy Public Safety Dispatcher Certificate issued by Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) at time of employment.

Fair Labor Standards Act Designation: Non-exempt.