Class specifications are intended to present a descriptive list of the range of duties performed by employees in the class. Specifications are not intended to reflect all duties performed within the job.


Under general direction, manages, assigns, reviews, and coordinates the day-to-day activities of the Communications Division including responsibility for the operation and effective functioning of the dispatch center; ensures work quality and adherence to established policies and procedures; and performs the more technical and complex tasks relative to assigned area of responsibility.


The following duties are typical for this classification. Incumbents may not perform all of the listed duties and/or may be required to perform additional or different duties from those set forth below to address business needs and changing business practices.

  • Plans, prioritizes, assigns, reviews, coordinates and manages through shift supervisors the day-to-day activities of the Communications Division including responsibility for the operation and effective functioning of the dispatch center; sets schedules and provides adequate staffing for the dispatch operation.
  • Establishes schedules and methods for providing police and fire dispatch services; identifies resource needs; reviews needs with appropriate management staff; allocates resources accordingly.
  • Participates in the development of goals and objectives as well as policies and procedures; makes recommendations for changes and improvements to existing standards, policies, and procedures; participates in the implementation of approved policies and procedures; monitors work activities to ensure compliance with established policies and procedures.
  • Participates in the selection of assigned staff; provides or coordinates staff training; assigns work activities, projects, and programs; reviews and evaluates work products, methods, and procedures; works with employees to correct deficiencies; conducts investigations and implements discipline and termination procedures.
  • Participates in the preparation and administration of the assigned program budget; submits budget recommendations; monitors expenditures.
  • Oversees, maintains and updates a variety of dispatch records as required; maintains current radio license for the department and ensures license is in compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations.
  • Ensures all dispatchers meet training requirements including POST, Emergency Medical Dispatching and other requirements set forth by the State of California.
  • Ensures the taping of all phone and radio traffic within the Communication Division; retains tapes for the City Attorney and State of California; copies tapes for departmental staff, other divisions, departments and outside agencies as necessary.
  • Oversees and participates in updating the Communications Manual for the department.
  • Recommends the purchase of supplies and equipment for the Communications Division; coordinates repairs to equipment with outside agencies; requisitions supplies and materials as necessary.
  • Prepares a variety of analytical and statistical reports and correspondence on operations and activities.
  • Responds to and resolves difficult and sensitive situations, employee inquiries and complaints.
  • Provides staff assistance to the Police Administrative Services Manager; performs special assignments, tasks and projects as assigned; prepares and presents staff reports and other correspondence as appropriate and necessary.
  • Oversees, monitors and maintains a variety of dispatch equipment including computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, automated telephone system, and radio system; works with other City staff and outside agencies to ensure systems are working properly.
  • Attends and participates in professional group meetings; maintains awareness of new trends and developments in the field of public safety dispatching; incorporates new developments as appropriate into programs.
  • Makes presentations to outside agencies regarding 911 and other public safety dispatching topics as necessary.
  • Performs related duties as required.


The following generally describes the knowledge and ability required to enter the job and/or be learned within a short period of time in order to successfully perform the assigned duties.

Knowledge of:

  • Operations, services, and activities of a dispatch center.
  • Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) procedures and standard practices regarding law enforcement radio transmissions.
  • Principles of supervision, training, and performance evaluation.
  • Statutory and decisional law relating to confidentiality of records and legal requirements for training and civil liability.
  • Communications equipment including radio systems, 911 systems, and computer aided dispatch (CAD) system.
  • Principles and practices of customer service.
  • Office procedures, methods, and equipment including computers and applicable software applications.
  • Basic principles and practices of municipal budget preparation and administration.
  • Principles and procedures of record keeping.
  • Principles of business letter writing and basic report preparation.
  • Pertinent federal, state, and local laws, codes, and regulations.

Ability to:

  • Coordinate and direct the day-to-day activities of the Communications Division including the dispatch center.
  • Supervise, organize, and review the work of assigned staff.
  • Select, train, and evaluate staff.
  • Recommend and implement goals, objectives, policies and procedures for providing dispatching services.
  • Understand the organization and operation of the City and of outside agencies as necessary to assume assigned responsibilities.
  • Understand, interpret, and apply general and specific administrative and departmental policies and procedures as well as applicable federal, state, and local policies, laws, and regulations.
  • Work under pressure, exercise good judgment and make sound decisions in emergency situations.
  • React calmly and effectively to emergency situations.
  • Establish priority of emergency situations.
  • Operate radio systems, 911 systems, and computer aided dispatch (CAD) system.
  • Operate office equipment including computers and supporting software applications.
  • Prepare clear and concise reports.
  • Participate in the preparation and administration of assigned budgets.
  • Plan and organize work to meet changing priorities and deadlines.
  • Effectively represent the City to outside individuals and agencies to accomplish the goals and objectives of the unit.
  • Work cooperatively with other departments, City officials, and outside agencies.
  • Respond tactfully, clearly, concisely, and appropriately to inquiries from the public, City staff, or other agencies on sensitive issues in area of responsibility.
  • Demonstrate an awareness and appreciation of the cultural diversity of the community.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.

Education and Experience Guidelines - Any combination of education and experience that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:

Education/Training: The following degree requirement is preferred until July 1, 2013, at which time it becomes a mandatory requirement: A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in communications, public safety dispatch, or a related field or an Associate’s degree plus two additional years of the required experience.

Prior to July 1, 2013, applicants who do not possess a degree must have the equivalent to the completion of the twelfth grade supplemented by college level course work in communications, public safety dispatch, or a related field, and must submit a degree educational plan approved by the Training Manager. The educational plan must outline in detail the degree major, list of all completed course work toward said degree, and include a timeline illustrating the remaining courses to be completed for successful achievement of the degree.

Experience: Four years of responsible public safety dispatch experience including one year of lead supervisory responsibility.

License or Certificate - Successful completion of P.O.S.T. Public Safety Dispatcher course is required within 12 months of employment. Successful completion of P.O.S .T. Civilian Management seminar is required within 12 months of employment. Successful completion of Emergency Medical Dispatching program is required within 12 months of employment.


The conditions herein are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential job functions.

Environment: Work is performed indoors in office and in meeting rooms. Exposure to noise of radios, telephones, alarms and voices; dust of excessive paperwork. Work environment is fast paced and high pressure and may be performed in a dimly lit and closely confined communication room.

Physical: Primary functions require sufficient physical ability to work in an office setting and operate office equipment. CONTINUOUS sitting; and upward and downward flexion of neck; side-to-side turning of neck; fine finger dexterity; light to moderate finger pressure to manipulate keyboard, equipment controls, and office equipment; pinch grasp to manipulate writing utensils. FREQUENT lifting of objects weighing up to 10 lbs. OCCASIONAL Standing, walking, bending, kneeling and squatting; lifting and carrying of objects weighing 11-25 lbs and pushing and pulling objects weighing up to 10 lbs.

Vision: See in the normal visual range with or without correction; vision sufficient to read computer screens and printed documents and to operate equipment.

Hearing: Hear in the normal audio range with or without correction for telephone, radio verbal communications, alarms, tones, and bells.

Speaking: clearly and distinctly using telephone, radio and personal contact.

Revised: August 2009

Date: April 2003
Johnson & Associates