Communications Dispatcher I in Santa Barbara, CA, US

  • Full Time
  • Anywhere

County of Santa Barbara


For more information about the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office
visit our website at

We are accepting applications to fill present and future vacancies in Santa Barbara with the Sheriff’s Office.

Position: Under close supervision, incumbent operates short-wave radio and computerized telecommunications equipment to receive, transmit, evaluate, and respond to emergency and non-emergency calls for information, services, and repairs by paging or dispatching the appropriate parties; maintains operating logs and records; performs other work as required.

Work Environment

The Dispatch Center is a countywide answering point for the 9-1-1 emergency telephone system. Public safety agencies that directly use the Dispatch Center are the County Sheriff’s Office, the County Fire Department, the County Contract ambulance company, local cities, and federal agencies. The Dispatch Center is a 24-hour / 365 day facility and is administered by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

The Dispatch Center receives approximately 160 calls daily for service on the 9-1-1 emergency system. In addition to 9-1-1 calls, the center answers approximately 840 calls daily on many other emergency lines. This equals approximately 324,000 calls per year; staff includes 24 Dispatchers, 6 Dispatch Supervisors, a civilian Operations Manager and a Sheriff’s Commander. As a new dispatcher, you will have the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge and experience.

A Communication Dispatcher plays a vital role in the delivery of public safety and functions as a nexus between the community, law enforcement and allied agencies, and public safety field personnel. Their role is largely one of information processing – obtaining, evaluating, and disseminating information regarding crimes, emergencies, and requests for public safety services – information that is often critical to the safety of both the public and law enforcement personnel. The conditions under which this role is carried out are often quite demanding with respect to both cognitive and non-cognitive skills and qualities.

Memorization: Remembering the details of a recent incident or related incidents; remembering procedures for handling various types of complaints and incidents, as well as for operating communications equipment and systems; remembering various codes and abbreviations (e.g. radio, legal); and remembering geographical boundaries and significant common locations.

Speed of closure: Evaluating initial information and quickly determining whether an incident is an emergency; receiving multiple radio transmissions in rapid succession and determining that they pertain to the same incident; and taking several calls reporting different parts of the same incident and quickly combining the information to gain an overall picture of what happened.

Perceptual Speed: Quickly comparing and verifying names, locations and descriptions received by radio, telephone, or in written form (e.g. checking a detainee’s description against a wanted list or date base inquiry); and quickly comparing incident information to determine if different calls are related.

Selective Attention: Taking calls and dispatching field personnel from within a noisy, distracting work environment (e.g. taking a complaint from a citizen while other phone lines are ringing, other dispatchers are receiving emergency calls, teletype messages are printing, or dispatching field personnel to an incident while other unrelated personnel are transmitting on the same frequency.)

Multi-tasking: Handling multiple calls for assistance at the same time; taking a complaint while monitoring radio traffic, teletypes; coordinating the response of multiple field units to an incident or several ongoing incidents; monitoring multiple radio channels at the same time; and tracking the status of field personnel while performing other duties (e.g. taking complaints or dispatching).

Using Resources & Equipment: Uses appropriate automated data bases (e.g. vehicle, criminal history, driver’s license, wants and warrants, stolen property, gun, and various specialized data bases) and reference material (codes, wanted lists, directories, manuals, etc.) to obtain or accurately update information. Uses telephone system and related equipment, radio broadcasting equipment, and/or computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system properly when receiving and dispatching calls for service.

Training can last anywhere from 8 months to 11 months, depending on many factors including the rate at which the new employee learns and retains information. Classroom instruction, practical application in the form of on-the-job-training, field trips, projects, tests, and self-study methods are all used in order to facilitate the new employee’s learning process. Throughout the Training Program, both the Dispatch Training Officer and the Trainee are expected to maintain a daily log of activities documenting concepts presented successes and achievements for each day, and areas in need of improvement. During the probationary period, the new employee will also receive quarterly evaluations as required by the Department and the County.

The Training Program is divided into phases, including Orientation, Calltaking/Phones, Sheriff Support Frequency, Sheriff Primary Frequency, Polishing, and Shadowing. Each of these phases has a varying amount of time allotted, which is necessary due to the aforementioned factors. Some phases may be taught concurrently, such as Calltaking/Phones and Sheriff Support Frequency.

A new Trainee must satisfactorily complete and pass each phase. If a Trainee fails to meet the required elements for any particular phase based on the Program Expectations, the employee may be terminated.

For information on Health Benefits and Compensation Summary, click links below:
Health Benefits and Wellness: CLICK HERE

Ideal Candidate Possess

Compensation Summary CLICK HERE.

Ability to communicate effectively in potentially high stress intervals A reputation for honesty and trustworthiness Good moral character Credibility Integrity Dependability Good judgment under pressure

Background Disqualifiers
An admission of having committed any act amounting to a felony within five years in California, or in another state which would be classified as a felony in California An adult felony conviction in California, or with a conviction for an offense in another state which would be classified as a felony in California Currently on Probation or Parole Adult felony and/or misdemeanor conviction(s) may be disqualifying depending on type, number, severity, and how recent Conviction of/or sustained petitions for any sex crime Recent use and/or possession of illegal drugs; Failure to reveal prior use will be disqualifying Unfavorable work history Poor credit history History of committing domestic violence Dishonesty or failure to reveal pertinent information
Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) and California POST Selection Standards:
Since POST standards adhere to both state and federal laws, the possession and/or sale of marijuana remains prohibited by federal law under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Therefore any candidate who uses / possesses and/or the sale of marijuana within the last year will result in disqualification. Examples of Duties
Receives non-emergency and emergency requests (including 911 calls) for sheriff/fire protection, medical, or emergency services; and obtains relevant information and inputs data, evaluates and prioritizes calls for service and dispatches appropriate personnel and equipment.
Using a computer aided dispatch (CAD) system, monitors and updates fire, ambulance, and sheriff unit location and status in order to coordinate emergency field operations; provides backup support and information as necessary by operating a two-way radio; requests additional assistance from other agencies as necessary; and obtains computerized law enforcement information from local, state, and federal data banks through a telecommunications terminal.
Types reference cards, logs, reports, procedure manuals, and other documents; maintains files and reference manuals; and performs other clerical duties. Employment Standards
Graduation from high school or equivalent AND one year of experience in the operation of a telephone switchboard or communications equipment; or, Graduation from high school or equivalent AND one year of general office work involving extensive public contact in person or over the phone; or, A combination of training, education, and experience that is equivalent to the employment standard listed above and that provides the required knowledge and abilities.

Knowledge of: methods of handling difficult public contacts.

Ability to: retain and relay information received under stressful conditions; speak over the phone and radio clearly and in a professional manner; hear, understand and speak the English language; respond to calls quickly and calmly and make sound decisions under pressure; communicate with people of diverse social and cultural backgrounds; follow written and oral instructions; establish and maintain working relationships with other agencies; operate computer and typewriter keyboards; read maps and give directions; keep detailed records; learn Federal, State, and local laws, terminology, and jurisdictional boundaries, and available types of emergency services.

Additional Requirements
Incumbents must be able to type 35 wpm; Work rotating 10-hour shifts; Incumbents must successfully complete a one year probationary period Successful completion of the Post-Certified Basic Complaint/Dispatcher course during the one-year probationary period which will determine your ability to satisfactorily perform the required job duties.

Upload your CV/resume or any other relevant file. Max. file size: 256 MB.