A police communications operator has a very important job. She answers 911 calls and non-urgent calls 24 hours a day. A police communications operator is also responsible for dispatching police officers to emergency situations when a crisis arises. She routes important calls to appropriate law, fire and medical facilities. If you have a desire to become a police communications operator, there are some things you should know about this career.
- Skill level:
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Meet basic requirements to become a police communications operator. You must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED.
Obtain job-related experience. You should have at least 6 months of customer service and/or call-center experience.
Develop additional skills. Police communications operators must be able to speak clearly and know how to react swiftly in crisis situations. You will also need to be fluent in English (reading and speaking).
Pass all required tests, including background checks, hearing and vision tests. You must also pass written, verbal and computerized tests.
Locate a job. You can locate available positions by contacting police departments and employment agencies. Alternatively, visit Indeed.com for job listings (see Resources below).
Undergo police communications operator training. During the training period, you will learn how to receive calls, route calls to specific departments, provide assistance to callers and give them the help they need.
Learn how to dispatch officers and record incidents. Additionally, learn how to decide whether a police officer is needed for each situation.
Learn how to use the required equipment. You will be required to use a headset, radio, telephone and computer-aided dispatch system to communicate with the public and police officers.
Tips and warnings
- The call centers are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Be flexible because you will probably be required to work various shifts.
- Avoid accepting this job if you do not have good stress-management skills. You will have to deal with anxious callers on a regular basis, and some of their anxiety may rub off on you.
- Evaluate your past before you set out to become a police communications officer. You will have to submit to a background check, and convictions may exclude you as a successful candidate for this job.
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