How to get a Job as a Police Communications Dispatcher: Step-by-Step Guide

By | February 7, 2018
Police communications dispatcher job

You can improve your chances of getting a job as a police communications dispatcher with careful preparation.

How to get a Job as a Police Communications Dispatcher: Step-by-Step Guide

Getting a job as a police communications dispatcher can be a difficult process; so you need to get fully equipped with the right information to enable you succeed in getting it before applying for it.

This post will show you the steps you need to take to improve your chances of being hired as a police communications dispatcher, but before we get into it, let’s find out who a police communications dispatcher is.

Who is a Police Communications Dispatcher?

A police communications dispatcher is the person that works in the police department whose job is to receive and transmit clean and reliable messages, track vehicles and equipment, and record other important information.

Fundamentally, a police communications dispatcher is the conductor of the force, and is responsible for the direction of all units within the police department.

Now, here are:

Steps You Can Take to Get a Job as a Police Communications Dispatcher:

1. Prepare for the Police Communications Dispatcher Job:

Possessing a high school diploma, GED certificate, or college degree is a good way to prepare for the police communications dispatcher career.

You must be at least 18 years old, with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience. You can take a police communications dispatcher training class approved by the National Academics of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) in place of a college degree.

Areas of study that are most often recognized in this profession include Communications, Emergency Management, Criminal Justice, Public Safety, and Homeland Security.

An in-house dispatcher training program is offered by the police precincts and is available once you are hired. To see a list of approved training courses, visit the NAED website. A certificate will be awarded to you if you complete the course.

Police Communications Dispatcher Qualities and Skills

To succeed in the police communications dispatcher career, you will need to develop certain qualities and skills; these are also required by employers when assessing candidates for the position.

Here are the major ones:

  • Strong communication skills, including clear speech, good hearing, and professional telephone manners
  • Understand, respect, and deal fairly with people of all ages, types, and backgrounds
  • Remain calm and reassuring even when under pressure
  • Be able to deal sensitively with members of the public who might be upset, confused, or aggressive
  • Have a polite, friendly, efficient, and helpful attitude
  • Be able to prioritize tasks
  • Ability to solve problems and make informed decisions
  • Be able to keep clear written records
  • Possession of strong keyboard and IT skills
  • Strong ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Be well organized
  • Be interested in people’s health care and safety
  • Ability to pay attention to details
  • Ability to follow set procedures and also use own initiative
  • Ability to work shifts, including nights, weekends, and public holidays
  • Ability to speak another language.

2. Find Police Communications Dispatcher Jobs

Searching online job sites is one of the ways you can find police communications dispatcher jobs.

Some police departments post employment opportunities for the dispatcher position on large commercial job sites so as to attract the largest number of applicants.

An easy way to start your online job search is to carry out an internet search that includes language like police dispatcher job openings and geographic region of your choice.

If you were unable to locate employment openings online, you can call police departments.

The rate that police departments and municipalities provide employment opportunities online is on the increase.

You can call the relevant police departments’ non-emergency phone number if you cannot locate this information.

Ask if there are any job openings for police dispatchers and enquire about the job requirements.

Many police communications dispatcher positions will require a high school diploma or GED certificate, basic typing skills, a pass in a written exam, pass in criminal background check, ability to speak English or other languages, pass in a vision and hearing test, and pass in a drug test.

3. Apply for the Job

Identify a job opening, meet the minimum requirements and either download the application form from the website of the police department, city or town, request an application by mail, or pick it up in person.

Normally, it is important that you provide correctly all requirements about contact information, background information such as work history, education and references, and answers about criminal convictions.

Before applying for a police communications dispatcher position, it is important to have a well-created cover letter and resume in a Microsoft Word or PDF file.

You need to have a little formal education like a high school diploma and on-the-job training as required in some states, and completion of a certificate or certification program as required in others.

The police communications dispatcher certificate program usually takes one year to complete. Individuals may also enroll in an associate’s degree program in public safety services, but this is not compulsory.

4. Prepare for Pre-employment Assessment Tests

Before taking the police communications dispatcher tests, it is essential to have job-related skills such as verbal and oral comprehension, as well as attention and focus.

The two tests that are used to assess candidates for police communications dispatcher positions include the Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST) and the Criteria Attention Skills Test (CAST).

The CBST assesses basic skills such as language skills, attention to detail, and math and verbal comprehension. It is an excellent way to promptly assess an applicant’s general job eagerness.

The CAST is used to quantify the concentration skills of an individual, including the ability to stay focused on a task for a sustained amount of time. The test is classified into four various categories that assess cognitive skills such as divided attention, vigilance, filtering, and perceptual reaction time.

In preparation for the police communications dispatcher test, ask your local police department if they made a provision for a study guide for the test.

Read through the study guides, familiarize yourself with the test format and types of questions, and practice answering the questions.

In readiness to take the written test and typing test, arrive on time for your scheduled exam and carefully read all of the instructions before answering the questions.

Determine whether the instructions lay down how points are calculated and consider skipping questions that you can’t answer if the test only awards points for correct answers.

And finally, be mindful of answering questions quickly enough to finish the test within the time offered.

5. Prepare for Interview – Major Important Police Communications Dispatcher Interview Questions and Answers

The police department may schedule you for an in-person interview if you meet the basic requirements and have scored satisfactorily on the test.

The interview allows the employers to evaluate how well you are able to answer questions, respond to emergency situations, and assess whether your behavior fits within the office and for the job.

Before the interview, study the job requirements. Review your exam study information, practice answering interview questions based on your study material, and get yourself ready to clearly express your interest in the job.

On the day of the interview, arrive 5 to 10 minutes before your scheduled interview.

Dress in professional attire, and be enthusiastic and confident. Tell the interviewers why you are interested in the position; discuss your qualifications and your desire to be trained as a police dispatcher.

Here are questions you might meet during a police communications dispatcher interview (suggestive answers are also provided):

  • What drove you to pursue a police communications dispatcher profession?
    You should be honest when answering this interview question because the employer knows that not everyone has the right personality to succeed in this career. Do not mention salary or benefits, but rather concentrate on the importance of the job in an emergency situation. It is the duty of police communications dispatchers to record information, and to get individuals who are upset or excited to be quiet.
  • What type of environment would you prefer to work in?
    The way you answer this question will tell the hiring manager a lot about how you would fit in the work environment. The employer will estimate how well you can work with and lead others from your answers to these types of questions. Your response should reflect on your capacity to efficiently work with a team or alone. You should further illustrate your eagerness to lead others as well as to be led, depending on the demands of the situation.
  • Tell me how well you can handle stress.
    Your responsibility as a police communications dispatcher should include contacting the right agencies in emergency situations. In just a moment of receiving notice, you should be able to communicate with the police, fire department, hospital, EMT’s and other first responders. You must be calm and provide instructions when necessary.
  • What makes you the perfect candidate for this position?
    The perfect candidate for this position ought to have the appropriate mixed of work experience, education, and personality traits. Make your answer to be concise, but declare what sets you apart from the multitude. For instance, “I’m devoted to managing emergency situations with a high degree of composure and professionalism. I read emergency management at UNN and I spent four years working as an EMT. With these, I believe I have the required qualities and knowledge to be exceedingly effective in emergency situations”.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
    The interviewer only wants to see that you’ve thought about your future and your ambition, and also to verify that this is not a temporary position. You ought to tailor your answers to the organization and position you’ve applied for. If you are going for an entry level position, explain how you’d like your career to progress. For example, “I’d like to progress to a Senior Police Communications Dispatcher” or “I see myself being a team leader…” If you aspire for a more senior position, explain how you would be looking to move the department forward.
  • What is your greatest weakness?
    You should take care of this question by decreasing your weakness and highlighting your strengths. Avoid personal qualities and focus more on professional traits. For example, “I am always working on improving my communications skills to be a more effective police dispatcher”. Don’t highlight a weakness that is a pure competence of the job that the interviewer can easily see through like, “I’m a perfectionist”.
  • What is your greatest strength?
    The hiring manager wants to know your work related strengths, and you should mention just a number of them such as being a problem solver, a good motivator, loyal, able to perform under pressure, ready to take initiative, having a positive attitude, eager to learn, and paying attention to details. You should give examples that illustrate these particular skills.
  • Why did you leave your last job?
    Never talk negatively about any prior or current employer to a potential employer when you answer this question. The employer would think that in a few years you could possibly say the same thing about them. You should rather say that you were looking for better opportunities for you to grow professionally, or you were looking for a chance to work abroad.
  • Why should we hire you?
    This question should be answered by sharing how you meet almost all the criteria they seek. And you need to further have two or three additional abilities that they might not even know they need. You ought to place yourself in the position of that candidate who cannot only meet their needs now, but will also be useful to them in the future.
  • Have you ever had a conflict with a Senior Officer? How was it resolved?
    You don’t need to say no in this situation; but rather explain how you reacted to conflict and what you did to resolve it. For example, “Yes, I have had conflicts in the past, but not major ones. There were disagreements that needed to be resolved. I’ve discovered that when conflict occurs, it helps to understand fully the other person’s viewpoint. Therefore, I take time to listen to their perspective, and then I seek to work out a collaborative solution.” Focus your answer on the behavioral process for resolving the conflict and working collaboratively.
  • Do you have any questions?
    Try to have a few questions ready, and have one based around something you found during a search on the department. Focus more on what you can do for the department. Ask about something you’ve discovered in your research to help make known your passion and knowledge of the department. Never say, “No, I think I’m good”. Always have questions ready, but don’t focus your questions on yourself and what you can get from them. Don’t ask about time off and benefits too early in the process.

6. Follow up

Following up on a job interview must be done according to the right protocol. The first step to take after an interview is to send a thank-you note or make a phone call to show good manners. This gives you an opportunity to mention anything you forgot to say during the meeting, and to give a quick review of why you’re a good fit for the position.

A follow-up email or call is most appropriate. This should be timed within 24 hours after the interview. Then after a few days or one week and you don’t hear back, you can send a short and respectful email asking if there is an update on the hiring process.

The most essential thing is to include “thank you” in your note, and also to remind the hiring manager the day you spoke with him/her last about the police communications dispatcher position. Go on to give a quick summary of why you’d be a benefit to the department, and what you have to offer if they employ you.

Conclusion

It might not be easy getting a job as a police communications dispatcher, but by following the tips shared in this post, you can improve your chances of being hired.

Did you find this post valuable in increasing your chances of getting a police communications dispatcher job? Please leave a comment in the box below. You can also share how you got hired as a police dispatcher by your department.

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