Lateral - 911 Communications Specialist

King County   Pioneer Square, WA   Full-time     Advertising / Marketing / Public Relations
Posted on February 27, 2023
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$72,737.60 - $90,043.20 Annually

Renton, WA

Job Type
Civil Service, Full Time, 40/hrs Wk

KCSO - Sheriff's Office

Job Number

Support Services



WHO MAY APPLY: This position is open to the public. If you are currently an experienced public safety dispatcher, we want you!

Calling all LAW ENFORCEMENT Dispatchers !

Serve your community as a Lateral 911 Call Receiver/Dispatcher with King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO). We are seeking individuals with at least two-years' 911 dispatcher experience predominantly with law enforcement.

Qualified lateral candidates will begin as a call receiver at $34.97 (step 4 of the pay scale) and be assigned to dispatcher training within their 12-month probation. When fully trained and certified, lateral hires will be reclassified as a Dispatcher and receive dispatcher pay. Dispatcher step placement will be based on experience and in accordance with King County compensation schedule.

Call Receiver Annual Salary: $72, 746.13 (begins at step 4)

Dispatcher Annual Salary Range: $81,905.41 - $90,056.10 (placement to be determined)

A career as a KCSO Communications Specialist/Dispatcher is rewarding, exciting and an outstanding opportunity to contribute the King County Sheriff's Office mission , to being a trusted partner in fighting crime and improving the quality of life for our residents and guests.
The Communications Team supports KCSO's mission by handling over 537,000 calls annually from unincorporated King County; twelve contract cities, Metro Transit Police, Sound Transit Police, and King County Airport Police. Over half a million people rely on our call receivers, dispatchers, and other communications personnel.

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 receive calls directly from other agencies.
  • Enter event information and dispatch according to priority or transfer/refer to the appropriate agency. Gather information from callers 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 to responders via radio.
  • Assign emergency response priority to events by determining whether immediate response could save lives or prevent crimes.
  • Route event details to the correct Dispatcher or appropriate agency.
  • 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 and 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

Lateral candidates must possess a minimum of two (2) years' experience as a fully qualified dispatcher from a communications center:
  • Predominantly centered on law enforcement
  • A minimum of 250,000 incoming 9-1-1 calls annually.
  • Less than a two-year break in service

Complete the KCSO dispatcher training within the probationary period. Standard probations are 12-months and may be extended. Additional requirements include, but are not limited to:
  • Demonstrate ability to apply law enforcement and emergency management basic principles and terminology as relates to the operation of the communications center.
  • Critical thinking skills, ability to act quickly in response to moderately complex oral and written instructions.
  • Knowledge of police, fire, ambulance and other EMS dispatch operations and procedures.
  • Experience utilizing a Computer Aided Dispatch System.
  • Simultaneously receive emergency calls, take charge of the conversation, and gather critical information.
  • Establish effective working relationships with other employees and representatives of other emergency service provider agencies
  • Provide a high level of customer service, demonstrating strong interpersonal skills when dealing with the public
  • 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 community members.
  • 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.
  • Fluency in other languages such as those most common in King County; Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Amharic, Arabic, Ukrainian)
  • Experience in the use of spreadsheets, and/or database management
  • Experience in a communications center supporting a county sheriff's office with more than 250,000 service calls.
  • Currently certified in ACCESS (state criminal database), NCIC (National Criminal Information Center) and WACIC (Washington Criminal Information 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.
  • 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.
  • Complete the dispatcher training within probationary period.
This is a Civil Service position.

Access to the King County Civil Service Rules can be found at:

Civil Service Rules .

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: Applications will be reviewed as received, and they will be screened for clarity, completeness. Please provide work history from the last ten years.

1. Direct apply- Click on the "Apply" link towards the top of this job announcement on the right. A complete application is required for processing.
  • Do not type "see resume".
  • Review the Sheriff's Office Automatic Disqualifiers and
  • Answer all supplemental questions.
2. Application Review - Applications will be screened for accuracy and completeness to ensure you meet the minimum qualifications to be considered as a lateral candidate. Civil Service reviews applications every week and will contact you within 5 to 7 business days of receiving your application.

3. Oral Board Exam - Qualified candidates will be invited to self-schedule for an oral board examination. This is a formal interview with of a panel of King County deputies, detectives, and/or sergeants. The panel will evaluate you on the following criteria: communication skills, background, skill in serving diverse communities, experience, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and problem solving.

4. Civil Service Eligibility List - Upon successfully passing the oral board examination, qualified candidates will be placed on the lateral eligibility list. The final score is based on your oral board interview and, if applicable, one of the approved preference points (see below). Ranking on this list determines the order in which background investigations are conducted.

  • Veteran's Preference: a valid copy of your DD214 must be provided prior to or at the time of your oral board appointment to be valid. To learn more, review RCW 41.04.010
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.

King County is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer

No person is unlawfully excluded from employment opportunities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other protected class. Our EEO policy applies to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, selection for training, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation.

To Apply

If you are interested in pursuing this position, please follow the application instructions carefully. If you need this announcement in an alternate language or format, would like to request accommodation or assistance in the application or assessment process or if you have questions please contact the recruiter listed on this job announcement.

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.