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Public Safety Dispatcher Job Analysis, Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
15 pages
This document presents a job analysis of public safety dispatchers.
Public safety dispatchers play a vital role in the law enforcement/public safety system. They are usually the first point of public contact in receiving calls regarding crimes, traffic incidents, medical emergencies, safety hazards, and other requests for service. They are responsible for facilitating an appropriate and timely field unit response, monitoring field activity, and providing information that is often critical to the safety of citizens and public safety field personnel. In accordance with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), a statewide job analysis was completed and important dispatcher duties and worker requirements were identified. A series of workshops and surveys were conducted involving dispatchers and supervisors from over 160 agencies, including police departments, sheriffs’ departments, and regional communication centers. A total of 121 core tasks were identified, representing 8 major job activity areas. The majority of the core tasks are performed at least daily by most dispatchers. The most frequently performed tasks involve querying data bases and providing information to field units; classifying and summarizing incidents; determining dispatch priority and appropriate personnel, resources, and referral agencies; dispatching patrol officers to calls for service; maintaining field communications; monitoring status of field units and incidents; handling calls from the public; and obtaining complaint-dispatching information. All core tasks and complaints/incidents were identified by supervisors as appropriate to be addressed in entry-level dispatcher training. A large number of core tasks were identified as requiring continuous professional training for tenured dispatchers. A total of 22 cognitive, psychomotor, and sensory-motor abilities were identified as important and necessary for entry-level candidates to possess before hire. These results suggest that it is reasonable to identify statewide job requirements for dispatchers. 7 footnotes, appendix