911 Communications Specialist King County King County 244 reviews


WHO MAY APPLY: This position is open to the public.

NOTE: Per the Civil Service rules, this recruitment will create an eligibility list to fill future vacancies of the same classification (valid for one year) within the Sheriff's Office.
This an excellent opportunity to launch a rewarding and exciting career with the King County Sheriff's Office. Communications Specialists serve as Call Receivers and Dispatchers, partnering with our men and women in the field to serve and protect King County residents.
No experience required. New 911 dispatchers complete a comprehensive training program during the first year of employment. This includes classroom training and extensive on-the-job training. After 18 months, Call Receivers will receive additional required training to advance to Dispatcher. Dispatchers use telephones and radios to provide critical information and communicate directly with and support deputies in the field. Dispatcher Salary is $33.72 – $37.08 hourly.

Note: As a King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) 911 Dispatcher, you will handle law enforcement calls only. Requests for fire or EMS assistance are immediately transferred to other agencies.

For application instructions and requirements, specific to Sheriff Office positions, please visit; Civil Service Application Requirements (<- click there).

This position is a civil service position, you can access these rules at Civil Service Rules.

WORK SCHEDULE: These positions are overtime eligible. The Communications Center operates 24/7. Applicants must be willing to work any shift or workweek, including holidays, weekends and mandatory overtime.

INFORMATIONAL WORKSHOP: To assist applicants in deciding if this career choice is right for you, we will be offering workshops where you can learn all about the hiring processes, expectations, and work in the 911 Communications Center. The workshop dates will be scheduled in the near future.

Job Duties

General job duties are as listed but not limited to the following:

  • Receive, prioritize, and route emergency and non-emergency calls (such as citizen concerns or complaints) from the public, transfer calls and calls received directly from other agencies.
  • Enter non-emergent caller's information and dispatches according to priority or transfer/refer to the appropriate agency. Gather information from calling parties and enters the type, location, source and all information for emergency calls into Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System.
  • Triage emergency requests for assistance. Relay pertinent information between responders via radio.
  • Assign emergency response priority by determining whether immediate response could save lives or prevent crimes.
  • Route calls for assistance to the correct Dispatcher or appropriate agency, communicate with emergency agencies.
  • Retrieve information from State and National computer networks regarding wanted persons, stolen property, vehicle registration, stolen vehicles, restraining orders, criminal histories, parolees and other related information; relay information to officers in the field
  • Manage multiple radio frequencies and radio communications simultaneously
  • Communicate effectively with confused, upset, hostile, or distraught people by phone, while gathering the information necessary to send the correct responders and equipment to the scene.
  • Communication center employees may hear and need to respond to graphic descriptions of violence and/or injury.
  • Record information and maintain required logs, event cards and other forms during periods of computer aided dispatch down time.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

Successful candidates must demonstrate the ability to act calmly, quickly, and with accuracy in emergency situations on a continual basis and to multi-task complex situations within a short time period. They will need the ability to follow moderately complex oral and written instructions and to speak the English language clearly and quickly with a well-modulated voice; the ability to spell, punctuate, and write English grammar correctly; as well as the ability to read and interpret street and location maps. It is also a requirement to have the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with employees, law enforcement and the general public. Candidates need to have the ability to distinguish and simultaneously hear telephone and multiple radio traffic; quickly read, process, and memorize considerable quantities of information.

Additionally, candidates will need to demonstrate the following:

  • One (1) year experience in a work environment that demonstrates an aptitude or ability to perform the primary duties;
  • Attention to detail and the ability to contextually shift from task to task is essential to the position
  • Strong organization, flexibility, and ability to control personal emotional responses and act appropriately under high levels of stress.
  • Strong people skills and high level of customer service
  • Critical thinking skills, ability to act quickly in accordance with established policy and procedures and maintain composure under pressure;
  • Skill in using current office software programs displayed on multiple computer screens

Ability to:

  • Simultaneously receive emergency calls, take charge of the conversation and gather critical information;
  • Comprehend the basic principles of and terminology applied to law enforcement and emergency management as applied to the operation of the communications center
  • Establish effective working relationships with other employees and representatives of other emergency service provider agencies; and, interact with the public pleasantly and courteously, often under stressful conditions.
  • Exhibit patience and remain calm and professional while questioning callers for whom English may be an additional language, callers who may be verbally abusive, emotionally upset, uncooperative or frightened
  • Maintain composure and control under adverse conditions and to cope with calls and contacts firmly, courteously, confidentially, tactfully, and with respect for the rights of citizens.
  • Be personable while successfully orchestrating and executing assigned tasks
  • Use memory for details, verbal instructions,
  • Exhibit emotional stability, discriminating thinking and some creative problem solving in a high stress, critical incident management environment.
  • Type 40 wpm accurately.
  • Work variable shifts including day shifts, swing shift, graveyard shift, weekends and holidays.

Supplemental Information

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Work experience in a fast-paced and multi-tasked public contact environment or a public-safety environment.
  • Experience in computer data entry and retrieval of information
  • Typing speed of 55 words per minute or higher
  • Some knowledge of law enforcement terminology
  • Fluency in another languages such as those most common in King County: Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Amharic, Arabic, Ukrainian)
  • Call center experience
  • Knowledge of other agencies in the area available to assist in operations.
  • Experience in the use of spreadsheets, and/or database management
  • Experience using multi-line phone systems.
  • Experience communicating effectively and efficiently with the public in a fast-paced environment, under stressful conditions.

Physical Demands:
Incumbent must function efficiently in an office environment for extended periods with no opportunity to leave the confines of the Communications Center. A Communications Specialist is considered an "essential employee," meaning he/she is required to work holidays, report for duty during adverse weather conditions, and be expected to work for long hours exceeding normally scheduled shifts in case of emergencies. Position is sedentary with high amounts of stress. Work requires use of the voice in vocal communications for periods of hours at a time. Voice must be clear, audible, and tone effective with words plainly spoken and understandable. Incumbent must be able to hear clearly and discern a variety of audible communications and signals simultaneously. Incumbent must be able to read critical information from multiple sources, including computer screen, fax, and written log quickly and accurately. The work is of an emergency nature and is emotionally stressful. Incumbent must possess manual dexterity sufficient to operate computer terminals/keyboards and related equipment and to maintain written logs.

NOTE: It is a hiring requirement that all staff employed by KCSO successfully pass a thorough background investigations process, which includes fingerprinting, criminal history check, reference checks, polygraph test, and other tests as deemed necessary. You must Review the list of KCSO Automatic Disqualifiers and verify your qualification for employment with King County Sheriff's Office.

Requirements Upon Hire:

  • Ability to maintain certification in ACCESS (state criminal database), NCIC (National Criminal Information Center) and WACIC (Washington Criminal Information Center) on a bi-annual basis is required.
  • Ability to obtain additional licenses, certifications and other requirements determined to meet the business needs of the employing unit.
  • One year probationary period

Civil Service Recruitment Process:
The hiring and selection process is lengthy and takes several months. Applicants that meet all the civil service requirements and minimum qualifications will be invited to participate in the initial technical exam (online); those that pass the initial technical exam will advance to Oral Board Examination/interview (virtual). The timeframe and order of the recruitment process is provided below.

Technical Exam: The technical exam is only administered online due to coronavirus concerns. Qualified applicants will be sent a testing invitation link. To take the test, you will need a computer with a keyboard and mouse or trackpad, internet connection, and preferably headphones to use during the audio data entry sections.

911 hiring process timeline:

  • January:
    applications accepted

  • Mid-February
    : Skill testing (administered online)

  • Late-February:
    Panel Interviews (virtual)

  • March: E
    ligibility List certified, background investigation begins

  • April:
    2nd interviews

  • June/July:
    Estimated starting hire date for successful candidates to begin paid training (subject to change)

TO APPLY: Please carefully review the list of required materials before submitting your application.

  • Complete application via governmentjobs.com. Applications must be complete. Do not use “see resume”, this will be considered an incomplete application and candidates will not be further considered. Complete answers to all the supplemental questions
  • Resume and cover letter are not required but suggested.

Application materials will be screened for clarity, completeness, and responsiveness to the list of qualifications, skills, and abilities. Answers to supplemental questions will assist in determining your eligibility for further consideration. The most competitive candidates may be invited to move forward in the hiring process.

UNION AFFILIATION: This position is represented by Teamsters, Local 763.

CONTACT: If you have questions regarding this recruitment please contact:
Michelle Kobuki , HR Analyst, Civil Service Administration
[email protected]KingCounty.gov

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