911 Communications Specialist

King County   Pioneer Square, WA   Full-time     Advertising / Marketing / Public Relations
Posted on May 18, 2023
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$63,086.40 - $76,273.60 Annually


Renton, WA

Job Type

Civil Service, Full Time, 40/hrs Wk

Job Number



KCSO - Sheriff's Office


Support Services

Opening Date




Bargaining Unit

K3 : PP&OCED L763-CommunicationSpec


WHO MAY APPLY: This position is open to the public.

Join the King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) Communications Team as a 911 Call Receiver/Dispatcher, The KCSO is seeking individuals with a desire to serve their community and who possess outstanding customer service and communication skills.

A career as a Communications Specialist/Dispatcher is rewarding, exciting and an outstanding opportunity to contribute t he King County Sheriff's Office mission to be a trusted partner in fighting crime and improving the quality of life for our residents and guests.

The King County Sheriff's Office Communications Team handles calls from unincorporated King County, twelve cities, Metro Transit Police, King County Airport Police, and King County Animal Control. Over half a million people rely on our call receivers, dispatchers, and other personnel.

911 Call Receivers complete a comprehensive training program during the first year of employment. This includes classroom training and extensive on-the-job training. After 18 months, Call Receivers will receive additional required training to advance to Dispatcher.

Dispatchers use telephones and radios to provide critical information and communicate directly with and support deputies in the field. As a King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) 911 Dispatcher, you will handle law enforcement calls only . Requests for fire or EMS assistance are immediately transferred to other agencies.

Call Receiver Salary is $30.33- $36.67 hourly
Dispatcher Salary is $39.37 - $43.29 hourly

Job Duties

General job duties are as listed but not limited to the following:
  • Receive, prioritize, and route emergency and non-emergency calls (such as citizen concerns or complaints) from the public, transfer calls and calls received directly from other agencies.
  • Enter non-emergent caller's information and dispatches according to priority or transfer/refer to the appropriate agency. Gather information from calling parties and enters the type, location, source and all information for emergency calls into Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System.
  • Triage emergency requests for assistance. Relay pertinent information between responders via radio.
  • Assign emergency response priority by determining whether immediate response could save lives or prevent crimes.
  • Route calls for assistance to the correct Dispatcher or appropriate agency, communicate with emergency agencies.
  • Retrieve information from State and National computer networks regarding wanted persons, stolen property, vehicle registration, stolen vehicles, restraining orders, criminal histories, parolees and other related information; relay information to officers in the field
  • Manage multiple radio frequencies and radio communications simultaneously
  • Communicate effectively with confused, upset, hostile, or distraught people by phone, while gathering the information necessary to send the correct responders and equipment to the scene.
  • Communication center employees may hear and need to respond to graphic descriptions of violence and/or injury.
  • Record information and maintain required logs, event cards and other forms during periods of computer aided dispatch down time.
Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

Demonstrate a minimum of one (1) year experience providing a high level of customer service and aptitude and skills to perform the primary duties, including a ttention to detail and the ability to contextually shift from task to task is essential to the position, including:
  • Strong organization, flexibility, and ability to control personal emotional responses and act appropriately under high levels of stress.
  • Strong people skills and high level of customer service
  • Follow moderately complex oral and written instructions and to speak the English language clearly and quickly with a well-modulated voice
  • Effectively communicate in writing using English grammar, spelling, punctuation
  • Critical thinking skills, ability to act quickly in accordance with established policy and procedures and maintain composure under pressure.
  • Demonstrate the ability to act calmly, quickly, and with accuracy in emergency situations
  • Multi-task complex situations within a short time period.
  • Comprehend the basic principles of and terminology applied to law enforcement and emergency management as applied to the operation of the communications center
  • Simultaneously receive emergency calls, take charge of the conversation, and gather critical information
  • Follow moderately complex oral and written instructions
  • Establish effective working relationships with other employees and representatives of other emergency service provider agencies;
  • Interact with the public pleasantly and courteously, often under stressful conditions.
  • Exhibit patience and remain calm and professional while questioning callers for whom English may be an additional language, or with callers who may be verbally abusive, emotionally upset, uncooperative or frightened.
  • Maintain composure and control under adverse conditions and to cope with calls and contacts firmly, courteously, confidentially, tactfully, and with respect for the rights of citizens.
  • Be personable while successfully orchestrating and executing assigned tasks
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with employees, law enforcement and the general public. Use memory for details, verbal instructions,
  • Exhibit composure and the ability to evaluate problems and apply sound judgment in a high stress, critical incident management environment.
  • Previous experience as a Call Receiver/Dispatcher for law enforcement 911 calls.
  • Experience communicating effectively and efficiently with the public in a fast-paced environment, under stressful conditions.
  • Knowledge of law enforcement terminology and/or experience in a public-safety setting.
  • Fluency in other languages such as those most common in King County; Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Amharic, Arabic, Ukrainian)
  • Call center experience
  • Experience in the use of spreadsheets, and/or database management
  • Typing speed of 55 words per minute or higher
  • Experience using multi-line phone systems.
  • Incumbent must function efficiently in an office environment for extended periods with no opportunity to leave the confines of the Communications Center.
  • A Communications Specialist is considered an "essential employee," meaning they are required to work holidays, report for duty during adverse weather conditions, and be expected to work for long hours exceeding normally scheduled shifts in case of emergencies.
  • The position is sedentary with periods of high levels of stress.
  • This work requires use vocal communications, using a clear, audible tone of voice
  • Incumbent must be able to hear clearly and discern a variety of audible communications and signals simultaneously.
  • Incumbent must possess manual dexterity sufficient to operate computer terminals/keyboards and related equipment and to maintain written logs.
  • Ability to maintain certification in ACCESS (state criminal database), NCIC (National Criminal Information Center) and WACIC (Washington Criminal Information Center) on a bi-annual basis is required.
  • Ability to obtain additional licenses, certifications and other requirements determined to meet the business needs of the employing unit.
  • One-year probationary period
This is a Civil Service position.
Access to the King County Civil Service Rules can be found at:
Civil Service Rules .

Please carefully review the list of required materials before submitting your application.
  • Review the list of KCSO Automatic Disqualifiers and verify your qualification for employment with King County Sheriff's Office.
  • Complete an online employment application at www.kingcounty.gov/jobs. The employment history should go back at least 10 years if you have 10 years of employment (or more to include relevant experience). Incomplete applications or answering "see resume" may not be considered.
  • Complete answers to all the supplemental questions.
This is an open and continuous recruitment, meaning applications will be accepted and reviewed as received, Timelines will be updated regularly.

This recruitment will include a first-round technical test and an Oral Board interview. The hiring and selection process is lengthy, requiring multiple months to complete.

Recruitment Timeline - dates and times are subject to change due to availability of resources:
Update 05/10/2023: Applications Received May 10, 2023 - June 11, 2023:
  • CritiCall Testing - late June/Early July 2023
  • Oral Board - late July/August 2023
Step One: Complete CritiCall - Technical Exam
The initial technical exam is only administered online. Qualified applicants will be sent a testing invitation link and instructions to complete the test. Candidates will need reliable internet connection, a computer with a keyboard and mouse or trackpad, headphones for the audio data entry sections. Applicants who complete the online exam will be invited to an in-person CritiCall testing session.

A Study Guide and practice test to the CritiCall exam can be found at: https://criticall911.com/documents/CritiCall_Candidate_Test_Preparation_Guide.pdf

Step Two: Oral Board Exam
Candidates who pass the technical exam will be invited to an oral board exam (interview).
This is a scored component of the examination process.

Step Three: Eligibility List & Background Investigation
Candidates who pass both the technical and oral board examination will be placed on an eligibility list. Eligible candidates will proceed with the background investigation process in order of their rank on the list. The background investigation process may take 8-12 weeks.

Contact Information: If you have questions about this job posting, please contact Civil Service HR Analyst Sara Bradley at 206-477-0148 or by email at sabradley@kingcounty.gov .

If you have questions about a career as a 911 Communications Specialist with King County Sheriff's Office, please reach out to the KCSO Recruiter at KCSO911Outreach@kingcounty.gov

Supplemental Information

Forbes recently named King County as one of Washington State's best employers.

Together, with leadership and our employees, we're changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence. Are you ready to make a difference? Come join the team dedicated to serving one of the nation's best places to live, work and play.

Guided by our "True North" , we are making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive. We value diversity, inclusion and belonging in our workplace and workforce. To reach this goal we are committed to workforce equity. Equitable recruiting, support, and retention is how we will obtain the highest quality workforce in our region; a workforce that shares and will help advance our guiding principles--we are one team; we solve problems; we focus on the customer; we drive for results; we are racially just; we respect all people; we lead the way; and we are responsible stewards. We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, and veterans.

For more information about medical benefits go to Benefits summaries - King County
Additional benefits include;
  • Longevity Pay
  • Merit Pay
  • Training Duty Compensation (taken as straight pay or vacation time)
  • Lead Worker/Out of Class Pay (if assigned)
King County offers a highly-competitive compensation and benefits package designed to meet the diverse needs of our employees and support our employees' health and well-being. Eligible positions receive the following benefits and have access to the following programs:
  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage: King County pays 100% of the premiums for eligible employees and family members
  • Life and disability insurance: employees are provided basic coverage and given the opportunity to purchase additional insurance for both the employee and eligible dependents
  • Retirement: King County employees are eligible to participate in a pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems and a 457(b) deferred-compensation plan
  • Transportation program and ORCA transit pass
  • 12paid holidays each year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • Generous vacation and paid sick leave
  • Paid parental leave, family and medical leaves, and volunteer leave
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Wellness programs
  • Onsite gyms and activity centers
  • Employee giving program
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Flexible schedules and telecommuting options, depending on position
  • Training and career development programs
For additional information about employee benefits please visit our Benefits, Payroll, and Retirement Page .

This is a general description of the benefits offered to eligible King County employees, and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. If any information on this document conflicts with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA prevails. Also, in the event of any incorrect information in this document, applicable laws, policies, rules, CBAs, or official plan documents will prevail.

NOTE: Benefits for Term Limited Temporary (TLT) or Short Term Temporary (STT) positions, including leave eligibility and/or participation in the pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, will vary based upon the terms and details of the position.Short Term Temporary positions are not eligible for an ORCA transit pass.

For inquiries about the specifics of this position, please contact the recruiter identified on this job posting.