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General Scanning Discussion For general questions not specific to a model of scanner or general discussion of use of a scanner. Location specific posts should be directed to the regional forums listed below.

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 01-13-2013, 12:56 AM
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If you are going for an accredited government agency, you will most likely take a test that is video based where you have to write down lots of info and listen very, VERY carefully to everything! Deep background checks on you down to every address you lived at, any/every ticket you have received, they will check your credit, all your references, your neighbors, check all your previous employers, they will check into everything! If you have ever been convicted of a felony, you lose. If you ever had a DUI/DWI, you could lose. You MUST have a drivers license! Typing test. 40 WPM is the normal. Having computer skills is a definite plus! B98.5% of all CAD's are Windows based.

Once you have passed all of the above, you will go through several different interviews. By the HR department, the communications supervisor, internal affairs and then, most likely a board. Next comes the polygraph. Admissible in court or not, if they want you to take one, and if you want the job, you will have to take one. If you refuse, you don't get the job.

Drug screening comes next. They will do pee test, blood test, hair test. If anything comes up, you lose.

You have made it this far and they offer you a job. Most dispatcher jobs are 12 on 12 off - the "California Schedule". 3 on, 2 off, 2 on, 3 off, 2 on & 2 off. 0600-1800 or 1800-0600. Then it starts over. Literally you work 6 months out of 12. You will start off with classroom training. Usually 1-4 weeks depending on the size of your agency. They you go to the floor. 1st stop is call answering. Usually a couple months there with a trainer monitoring your every move. If you do well enough there, you will move up to dispatcher. You will be attached to a FTO who will also monitor your every word. If all that works out, after a couple months you will most likely be cut loose on your own!

Just because one can listen to scanners and radios, can read, can speak with clarity (except in large metropolitan area where you have to hire people who CAN'T speak clearly), doesn't always guarantee a position. I'm sure you have heard these "so called dispatchers" on the air and you wonder how they got there. Nepotism, EEOC and other jokes run ramped in a lot of agencies. And if you get on, you will have to endure them as well.

I love my job. I was lucky enough to have an EMS background as a paramedic which has really helped me. But sometimes, a complete novice off the street can turn out to be an excellent dispatcher as well.

Good luck and let us know how everything goes!
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 01-13-2013, 1:18 AM
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Dispatchers deal with some sensitive data but I don't think that most agencies would go through a polygraph.

But if they would admit it for some reason the procedure of the test requires them to tell you the questions in advance. That's how the test works. Just so you know.
During my 30 plus years in law enforcement I have never seen a police position, including dispatchers, that did not require a thorough background investigation and a polygraph.

You will answer the questions on a form before the exam and then these questions will be asked again during the polygraph exam.
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Old 01-15-2013, 5:44 PM
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I took my test! It was 2 hours long, and it was an all audio test i listening to some fake 911 calls and they asked like what was his name where did he live, and so on. not that hard, and all. I felt I did good on it! If i did I will be getting a call back sometime later this week for an interview they said, but only those to who passed will get called. Wish me luck all!
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Old 01-16-2013, 1:21 AM
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I know one of the tests they often do is to have you listen to recordings that toss a lot of radio traffic at you. Mixed in there will be high priority traffic and low priority traffic. You will need to filter out the extraneous stuff and keep focused on the high priority/emergency traffic. They won't give you any prep, it's about how your brain works and how you process what you hear. My wife did it many years ago.
Imagine having to listen to several telephone calls at once and weed out the important bits.... She said it wasn't easy.

Be ready for stressful stuff.

Good luck to you!
Intresting, i had a visually impaired friend that took the EMS dispatch course at the local tech school here, and one of the things his prof told me about is kinda like what ya describe in your post, they had the students listen to a LOT of traffic and filter out the routine stuff from the priority stuff, my friend told me about it on the ham radio later...said it was not fun at all...think HF on a day when the bands are open...really open, and ya get the gist. N9NRA
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Old 01-16-2013, 1:22 AM
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I took my test! It was 2 hours long, and it was an all audio test i listening to some fake 911 calls and they asked like what was his name where did he live, and so on. not that hard, and all. I felt I did good on it! If i did I will be getting a call back sometime later this week for an interview they said, but only those to who passed will get called. Wish me luck all!
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Old 01-16-2013, 1:09 PM
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I took my test! It was 2 hours long, and it was an all audio test i listening to some fake 911 calls and they asked like what was his name where did he live, and so on. not that hard, and all. I felt I did good on it! If i did I will be getting a call back sometime later this week for an interview they said, but only those to who passed will get called. Wish me luck all!
Break a leg! Let us know how you do!
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Old 01-16-2013, 1:14 PM
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I'll keep everyone updated! I'm just waiting on a call they said they might not get the test results back until friday or so, so it could take time for a phone call
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Old 01-16-2013, 2:13 PM
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Good luck to you!

Remember, this is a lot more important to you than it is to them. When they tell you it might be Friday, count on Monday or Tuesday. Fridays can get busy, and things forgotten or pushed off until "next week".
When I do hiring, I always make sure I call the applicants back before the weekend. That lets them relax and be able to enjoy a weekend without worrying about why I didn't call.
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Old 01-16-2013, 2:34 PM
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I wish you "GOOD LUCK" and keep us informed as to what's happening.

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Old 01-16-2013, 5:09 PM
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I sure will! and I will get a call if i passed around the weekend simply because they are doing interviews this tuesday lol so if I don't get a call I didn't pass, but I'm going to keep my hopes up!
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:12 PM
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Just an update. I passed! Got an interview Tuesday


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Old 01-17-2013, 12:29 PM
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Awesome! Good luck on Tuesday.
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Old 01-17-2013, 1:02 PM
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Just an update. I passed! Got an interview Tuesday


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Congratulations! Once again, good luck!
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Old 01-17-2013, 1:13 PM
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Thanks! And there was about 20 people who took the test out of that I have no clue on how many passed but I hope I do good!


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Old 01-18-2013, 10:12 PM
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Was the video/audio test you took the one that had the Anchorage Police department in it?
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:09 PM
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It was from some company called "I/o solutions " and it was a dispatch test


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Old 01-22-2013, 1:07 PM
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Well I had my board interview today, and I did not pass : / Looks like the only way I'll get this job if everybody fails and they people back in for more interviews or something.
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Old 01-22-2013, 1:34 PM
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Don't give up. See if you can find out where you need to work on improving and apply again. You know you did pretty well on part of the test, now you just need to nail the board part of it.
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Old 01-22-2013, 1:35 PM
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Yeah that's true it was fast paced and all and quite hard I hope everybody fails and we all get interviewed again but I doubt that will happen


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Old 01-22-2013, 2:59 PM
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Hello all! I recently applied for my local dispatch! I passed the typing test and now I got called in a few days later for more "test" at the actual police department. Does anybody have an idea what tests could be in store for me?


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You will probably have to take a mock scenario test. You will also most likely have to get to know the software that the dispatch uses. Congratulations and have fun!!
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