The job of Police Dispatcher with the Bakersfield Police Department is a fast-paced, demanding position which takes dedication, tenacity, and commitment to fulfill the requirements of the training program. Once learned, though, the job is most always rewarding.
The Communications Center staff includes five Communications Supervisors, 31 full-time and three part-time Police Dispatchers who work varying shifts to make sure the Communications Center will be adequately staffed at all times.
Police Dispatchers work as a team in the Communications Center, which is located on the 2nd floor of the police facility. They are responsible for answering 9-1-1 calls placed from within the city limits and determining what action needs to transpire following the call. Some of these callers are reporting life-threatening situations, while others erroneously call 9-1-1 for weather conditions. Police Dispatchers receive and transmit radio communications with officers in the field. They also must monitor the frequencies of allied agencies to ensure success in allied agency communication. In 2007, they handled 815,856 telephone calls, which includes 183,982 9-1-1 calls, and entered over 287,908 incidents into the dispatch system for police service.
The Communications Center is certified by the State of California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), which requires all Police Dispatchers to attend a 120-hour Public Safety Dispatcher Basic Academy within the first year of employment. Additionally, POST mandates that all dispatchers receive 24 hours of continuing professional training every two years.
In addition to the academy, Bakersfield Police Dispatchers complete a multi-phase training program, which includes six weeks of classroom training, followed by approximately eight months of one-on-one training with a Police Dispatcher II.
Twice each year the Bakersfield Police Department hosts the POST Public Safety Dispatcher Basic Academy. Nine of our current Communications employees serve as instructors, teaching Radio Procedures, Telephone Procedures, Telecommunications, and Resources and Referrals, to name a few.
Law enforcement agencies nationwide have difficulty filling dispatch positions and retaining qualified personnel. Historically, the position has had a high turn over rate. This is most often attributed to the stressful nature of the job, shift work, holiday work, and the demanding and multi-tasked workload. While we have seen our fair share of turnover, we did achieve 92.8% staffing in 2006.
Applications are accepted an average of twice a year. The ideal candidate is someone who can multi-task. Simultaneous talking and typing is a constant requirement. You must also possess the ability and desire to make calm, rational decisions when faced with life threatening situations over the telephone and radio. The ability to read maps and convey logical response information is also required.