What’s the difference between a Communications Officer I (Call Receiver) and Communications Officer II/III (Dispatcher) and Report Technicians?
A Communications Officer I answers 9-1-1 calls and Crime Check calls directly from the public and enters pertinent information into our Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. A Communications Officer I also takes police reports over the phone.
A Communications Officer II/III then communicates the information to first responders and coordinates the resulting public safety response with the involved police, fire or EMS field units. A Communications Officer I works directly with 9-1-1 and other emergency calls from the public while Communications Officers II works primarily with field units.
Report Technicians process police reports over the phone. This position is a separate job classification. If a Report Technician wishes to advance to a Communications I/II/III position, they need to apply and go through the selection process for that separate classification.
How long does the entire selection process take?
The process is dependent on the quality and quantity of the recruitment pool and may take up to four months or longer. At each phase of the process we communicate as much as possible to keep each candidate informed.
How often does SREC hire for Communications Officer or Report Technician Positions?
Depending on organizational needs and budget constraints, SREC starts academies every several months.
What is the purpose of skills-based testing?
The skill-based tests are designed to evaluate critical thinking skills, multitasking and aptitude needed to work in a public safety emergency dispatch center. There is no preparation that is needed prior to testing as all materials and instructions are provided the day of testing. Criticall public safety testing is used for the skills-based testing and more information can be found here.
What are my chances of successfully completing the training?
Variables such as aptitude and attitude are vital parts in the key to success. We are looking for trainees to display attributes of hungry, humble and smart. Key attributes are also self-motivation, emphasizing team over self and defining success collectively rather than individually. Good judgement and intuition are essential.
What is the working environment like in a communication center?
SREC is a 24/7 operation. The work environment is casual yet professional and the dress standard is relaxed. Due to the nature of the work the shifts are sedentary with periods of high stress and multi-tasking with infrequent periods of downtime. The position demands excellent communications skills and an individual as well as team approach to problem solving. Policies and procedures are established and enforced to provide the highest level of public safety service and customer service.
Communications Officers regularly work graveyard shifts and holidays and are expected to complete their assigned shifts regardless of personal commitments (I.E. birthday parties, anniversaries, etc.). Outside of yearly/bi-yearly seniority vacation time, other discretionary vacation time off is extremely limited. In addition, attendance is critical to the operation of the Center and the communities we serve.
What kind of hours or shifts can I expect to work?
If you are selected for employment, your first several weeks will be in a class room setting and the actual days and times are subject to change with each Academy depending on the needs of the Center. After a trainee transitions out into the center their schedule will vary as well as change regularly throughout their first year.
After your first year as a Communications Officer, shift bids are completed every six months based on seniority. Shifts currently offered are combination of 5/8’s and 4/10’s based on seniority. Once assigned to a shift you are expected to work the shift regardless of personal events or holidays. Overtime hours are available on a mandatory or voluntary basis depending on the needs of the Center. Mandatory overtime will sometime occur with little notice. It may be years before a Communications Officer has enough seniority to work a day shift and/or have weekends off.
Report Technician shifts are under development, but this position will not require graveyard hours.
What is the hiring process for laterals?
Laterals are required to pass all the same testing and pre-hire elements as entry level Communications Officers I. Laterals also must start as call receivers. Advancement to a Communications Officer II/III assignment is based on availability.