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Communications Operator - Astoria Dispatch

Company: City of Astoria
Location: Astoria
Posted on: May 7, 2022

Job Description:


Astoria Dispatch answers roughly 80,000 calls a year, of which approximately 13,000 are 9-1-1. From these calls Astoria Dispatch creates approximately 45,000 calls for service for police, fire and public works agencies in the Computer Aided Dispatching (CAD) system. Another 10,000 calls are received for service by other agencies such as Oregon State Police and the Coast Guard who do not subscribe to Astoria Dispatch.

Astoria Dispatch is one of two Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP's) in Clatsop County. The second PSAP is located in the City of Seaside within the Seaside Police Department. Clatsop County has a land area of 827 sq. miles with a water area of 257 sq. miles. The full-time resident population in the County is 36,798 (59% urban, 41% rural). Though the full-time resident population seems low, year-round tourism can bring the population total to over 100,000.


Communications Operators, also referred to as "dispatchers", are often the first trained point of contact in an emergency. They begin the important work of obtaining essential information, remaining calm, calming others, and sending the appropriate responders to the right location. They may also provide instructions to the 911 caller, which in many cases is essential to stabilizing or saving a life. Dispatchers are responsible for performing quick, efficient, and accurate dispatching of calls and messages with public safety units and personnel in the field.

During the typical 6-8 month training period, trainees will work alongside different trainers during each training phase and work varying shifts in accordance with their trainer's assigned shift. In addition to hands-on work with a trainer, trainees will be required to attend 3 weeks of training in Salem at the Department of Public Safety Standards Training (DPSST) academy plus a 3 day Emergency Medical Dispatch certification course. There is a one year probationary period.

This is full-time shift work in a dispatch center which operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Everyone can expect to rotate through a variety of shifts including days, swing, nights, holidays and weekends with proper notice. Individuals with limited availability or who are unable to work a variety of shifts may not be well suited for this position.


* Receives incoming emergency and non-emergency telephone calls. Emergency can be complex and require the call receiver to use appropriate de-escalation and interviewing skills to gather necessary information before dispatching appropriate resources such as law enforcement, fire or ambulance.
* Monitors radio frequencies for all assigned jurisdictions and maintains two-way communications; keeps shift Sergeant and other supervisors informed of emergency situations and overall activity.
* Operates Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) Computer terminal and responds to fields requests for information on persons and property; calls up wants and warrants, checks vehicle registration and driver's license data and obtains criminal history summaries and reports of stolen vehicles and items.
* Enters appropriate call/complaint information into Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) records; maintains other departmental logs, forms, indexes and files related to the dispatch function.
* Monitors security cameras and fire alarms as well as Public Works Department telemetry system (water/sewer equipment) and notifies designated person(s) in the event of signal or malfunction.
* Answers general information questions from the public.
* Monitors teletype messages and prepares summary of activity during shift.
* Issues case numbers and performs routine clerical work.
* Maintains punctual, regular and predictable attendance.
* Works collaboratively in a team environment with a spirit of cooperation.
* Displays excellent communication skills including presentation, persuasion, and negotiation skills required in working with coworkers/public and including the ability to communicate effectively and remain calm and courteous under pressure.
* Respectfully takes direction from Emergency Communications Manager, Operations Supervisor and Lead Dispatcher.
* Other duties as assigned.


* Excellent communication skills to listen, speak and direct during operation of two-way radio and multiple phone lines and within the dispatch center.
* Advanced technological skills to accurately and efficiently use computers, software, radios and other equipment in managing calls and entering data.
* Well established decision making and multitasking skills to handle receiving many calls, often at the same time while prioritizing by importance. Ability to calmly respond to each one and keep organized records of details, locations and needs
* Ability to stay composed and manage emotions and stress during calls, shifts and over time.
* Highly adaptable as a dispatcher's daily duties are always changing. They should be flexible and able to adapt to any situation. Dispatchers might experience periods of little call activity followed by high call levels and need to adjust quickly. They also need to be willing to learn and comfortable adapting to technological changes as CAD programs, telephone systems and other computer databases receive updates.


Ability to perform essential job duties with or without reasonable accommodation and without posing a direct threat to safety or health of employee or others. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

* Two years of general clerical, technical or administrative experience preferably in an emergency service; or any equivalent combination of experience and training that demonstrates the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the above described duties.
* Possession of a valid Basic Certificate in Telecommunications and Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) in the State of Oregon, or ability to obtain certification within one year with adequate provided training.
* Ability to pass a City-required background investigation which includes a Records Check, Psychological, Medical & Hearing Exams, and Drug Screen.
* City employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (medical or religious exceptions may apply).
* Police Department employees hired after December 1, 1996 must refrain from the use of tobacco products while on duty. This is a condition of employment.


* Associate's degree (A. A.) or equivalent from two-year college or technical school.
* Proficiency in a second language.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk and reach with hands and arms.

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.


* Voluntary semi-annual bonus for qualified physical fitness tests
* Intermediate and Advanced Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) certificates pay premiums
* Communications Training Officer assignment and pay premium
* Lead Dispatcher assignment and pay premium
* Senior Communications Operator pay premium
* Bilingual Language pay premium
* Stability Pay


To be considered, applications must complete:

* APPLICATION - Submit your application, cover letter, resume and any supporting documents.
* WRITTEN TESTING (June 8, 2022 at 9AM)- This testing will be conducted in-person in Astoria. Information regarding testing will be sent to you after you apply.

Due to the sensitive nature of this career, this thorough and important process can take longer than a typical hiring process. Candidates must submit application materials, complete written testing and satisfy each step listed below in order to continue in the process.

* APPLICATION & TEST REVIEW - Your application and test results must be received by APD before you will be considered for an oral board interview
* BACKGROUND CHECK - Records Check, Psychological, Medical & Hearing Exams, Drug Screen

Keywords: City of Astoria, Hillsboro , Communications Operator - Astoria Dispatch, Other , Astoria, Oregon

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