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911 Communications Specialist

King County Department of Human Resources
Renton, WA Full-time
Posted on October 3, 2019

The King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) is accepting applications from United States citizen and Lawful Permanent Resident

Make the difference in someone's life, become a 911 Operator - Communications Specialist!
This an excellent opportunity to launch a rewarding and exciting career in Law Enforcement. Communications Specialists serve as Call Receivers and Dispatchers, partnering with our men and women in the field to serve and protect King County residents.  

As a new Communications Specialist you will receive classroom and hands-on training to be able to take both emergency and non-emergency calls in a high volume call center. Call Receivers provide callers with instructions and resources, make referrals and write routine police reports. Complex emergency calls require the appropriate use of de-escalation and interviewing skills to gather the necessary information before routing to the 911 Dispatcher.

After 18 months, Call Receivers may be eligible for additional training to advance to Communications Specialist - Dispatcher. Dispatchers use telephones and radios to provide critical information and communicate directly with and support deputies in the field. Communications Specialist – Dispatcher Salary: $32.74 – $36.00 an hour.

As a King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) Communications Specialist you will handle law enforcement calls only. Requests for fire or EMS assistance are immediately transferred to other agencies.

RECRUITER: If you have questions regarding this job announcement, please contact Civil Service Administrator Brannon Mark, at 206-263-1885 or by email at

For application instructions and requirements, specific to Sheriff Office positions, please visit; Civil Service Application Requirements (<- click there). 

Be advised, a Letter of Interest (cover letter) specifically addressing this position is required to be considered for this position.

This position is a civil service position, you can access these rules at Civil Service Rules.

WORK SCHEDULE:  This full time position is non-exempt from the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) and is overtime eligible. The Communications Center operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Applicants must be willing to work any shift or workweek, including holidays, weekends and mandatory overtime.

INFORMATIONAL WORKSHOP: To assist you in deciding if this career choice is right for you, we will be offering recruiting workshops where you can learn all about the hiring processes, expectations, and work in the 911 Communications Center. The workshop dates and times are:

Tuesday, October 8, 2019: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Thursday, October 10, 2019: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Saturday, October 12, 2019: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
If you would like to attend one of these scheduled workshops, please email and provide your name, contact number or email, and the date you would like to attend. Space is limited so you must register with us in order to attend.  We will contact you to confirm your registration

To learn more check us out on Facebook: 

Job Duties

General job duties are as listed but not limited to the following:

  • Working in partnership with deputies in the field;
  • Serve as the primary contact for calls coming into the KCSO 911 Center; 
  • Interview callers and gather information to be entered into computer system; 
  • Assign emergency response priority and route calls for assistance accordingly; 
  • Communicate with police units and various emergency agencies using telephones and radios; 
  • Write and prepare reports using grammatically correct sentence structure; 
  • Monitor pending dispatched call list to ensure units respond when available; 
  • Notify callers of delays; 
  • Monitor multiple radio frequencies for calls in progress; 
  • Serve as a coordination point for multi-jurisdiction responses; 
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

Successful candidates must demonstrate the ability to make important decisions quickly, communicate effectively, prioritize emergencies, appropriately apply policy and procedures, and maintain a high degree of integrity and professionalism. Additionally, candidates will need to demonstrate the following: 

  • Ability to conduct telephone interviews and direct the conversation while obtaining critical information;
  • Ability to comprehend and retain training in allotted timeframes;
  • Ability to apply general guidelines to specific situations; 
  • Ability to learn from written and oral instructions, directions, observations and mistakes, and applying learned knowledge using good judgment;
  • Critical thinking skills, ability to act quickly in accordance with established policy and procedures and maintain composure under pressure;
  • Demonstrated excellent customer service in a team environment; 
  • Ability to communicate with individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures, including those who speak other languages; 
  • Type 35 WPM; 
  • Skill in using current office software programs displayed on multiple computer screens; 
  • Ability to master proprietary computer programs.

Highly Desirable Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated interest in community service through work, school, or volunteering; 
  • Experience working successfully in a team environment;
  • Experience communicating effectively and efficiently with the public in a fast-paced environment, under stressful conditions.

Supplemental Information

Requirements Upon Hire:

  • 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.

Civil Service Recruitment Process:  

Candidates whose application meets all the civil service requirements and minimum qualifications will be invited to participate in an in-person technical exam. Candidates must successfully pass the CritiCall technical exam before advancing to the Oral Board Examination (interview). The timeframe and order of the recruitment process is provided below. Please note dates are subject to change based on resource availability.

CritiCall Technical Exam: (located in Renton)
October 29, 30, & 31 and November 1 & 2, 2019

Oral Board Exam Interviews: (located in Renton)
November 12, 13, 14 & 19, 20, 21, 2019

UNION MEMBERSHIP:  This position is represented by Teamsters, Local 763.

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
  • 10 paid 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.

You must be a current US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident to apply for civil service positions with the King County Sheriff's Office. Are you now a United States citizen?
  • Yes
  • No
Can you read, write and speak the English language?
  • Yes
  • No
Do you certify that you reviewed and adhered to the application standards and requirements outlined in the Civil Service Application Requirements link?
  • Yes
  • No
The King County Sheriff's Office maintains a list of automatic disqualifiers for employment. This list can be accessed by clicking on this link Automatic Disqualifiers. Please review the disqualifiers and respond to the following question before proceeding.
Do you meet any of the automatic disqualifiers pertaining to DRUGS: •As an adult, convicted of any drug crime, felony or misdemeanor •Use of mushrooms within the last three (3) years •Use of hallucinogens (includes GHB & ecstasy; excludes mushrooms), cocaine, methamphetamine, or opiates within the last ten (10) years •Use of any other illegal drug, including steroids, within the last five (5) years •Illegal use of four (4) or more different controlled substances, including marijuana, in the last ten (10) years •Any instance of manufacturing or cultivating illegal drugs for the purpose of sale or distribution •Use of any illegal drugs while employed in a criminal justice capacity •Obtaining a prescription under false pretenses •Any instance of illegally injected amphetamines, methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, barbiturates, or valium •Any instance of illegally using a drug after submitting an application to any Law Enforcement agency •Marijuana use will reviewed on a case-by-case basis; however, in order to increase the likelihood of continuing on in the hiring and background process, an applicant should not have used Marijuana in the last 12 months
  • Yes
  • No
If you answered "yes" to the above, please explain.
Do you meet any of the automatic disqualifiers pertaining to MILITARY: •Any discharge from any military service other than honorable will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis •A dishonorable discharge remains an automatic disqualifier.
  • Yes
  • No
If you answered "yes" to the above, please explain.
Do you meet any of the automatic disqualifiers pertaining to CRIMINAL ACTIVITY: •Any adult felony convictions •Any adult misdemeanor conviction for crimes involving theft or crimes of violence •Conviction of Minor In Possession of Alcohol within the last three (3) years •Any conviction for a sex related crime •Any instance of required registration as a sex offender, regardless of conviction status •Any conviction for solicitation of prostitution.
  • Yes
  • No
If you answered "yes" to the above, please explain.
Do you meet any of the automatic disqualifiers pertaining to DRIVING: •Conviction of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol within the last ten (10) years •Conviction of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol more than once •As an adult, conviction of Attempting to Elude, or Hit and Run •As an adult, conviction of Reckless or Negligent Driving 1st degree in in the last 5 years •Driving While License Suspended/Revoked, reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Yes
  • No
If you answered "yes" to the above, please explain.
The application for this position requires a cover letter detailing how your qualifications and experience meet or exceed the minimum qualifications stated in this job bulletin. Did you include a cover letter that specifically addresses this position?
  • Yes
  • No
The Communications Center operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You MUST be willing and able to adjust to periodic rotations in your work schedule from days, swing, or graveyard shifts. Are you willing and able to work all days of the week, including weekends and holidays?
  • Yes
  • No
To be considered for the position you must agree to following items. Please read each line item carefully. I understand... *I must be able to accept last-minute changes to my work schedule that may require me to cancel personal plans. *I may be required to work mandatory overtime when needed by my supervisor. *I must perform work amid multiple and constant interruptions. * I may be subjected to abusive and profane language over the phone, and still must deal with the caller professionally. *Food is not allowed on the Communications Center work floor. *ALL work communications are recorded and subject to public disclosure. Do you agree to the line items addressed in this section?
  • Yes
  • No
Predictable, reliable, and timely attendance is a requirement for this position. During the background investigation, your previous employers will be asked about your attendance. Does your attendance history meet the expectations of predictable, reliable and timely?
  • Yes
  • No
Please choose the option that best matches your experience providing customer service and effective communication.
  • No professional experience, but I have acquired the skills.
  • One year but less than two years' experience.
  • Two to five years' years experience.
  • Five or more years' experience.
Please describe how your experience, qualifications, and skills meet the needs of the position. Be clear and specific.
The background of all King County Sheriff's Office employees and applicants are thoroughly checked. The required background investigation will review and evaluate driving records, criminal records, employment histories, military records, personal and employment references, and related information. A polygraph examination is also required. Are you willing to undergo a background investigation and polygraph examination as part of the employment process?
  • Yes
  • No

Required Question