All 911 calls in Aurora, Colorado are the responsibility of the Public Safety Communications Department which was created in 2004 by combining communications centers of both the Aurora Police Department (APD) and the Aurora Fire Department (AFD). The new consolidated dispatch center for police, fire and ambulance employs a manager, an administrative specialist, eight supervisors and 71 telecommunicators who together processed 576,000 calls in 2011.
The E-911 Institute named Aurora the “2010 Outstanding Call Center” for their high level of customer service and excellent management of new technologies in spite of budget cuts. Aurora beat out 8,000 other 911 dispatch centers to win the award.
You need to take the following steps to become a 911 operator in Aurora, CO:
|Get the Proper Education|
|Meet Requirements and Apply in Aurora|
|Complete Training and Begin Working in Aurora|
|Continue with Training and Education|
Step 1. Get the Proper Education
In order to be considered for 911 dispatcher jobs in Aurora you must exhibit a level of knowledge about public safety and law enforcement principles and procedures that is best acquired by earning a relevant degree or certificate. There are more than six colleges/universities in Aurora from which you can receive an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a field like criminal justice, emergency medical provider, public safety or fire science. Other educational avenues that would increase your employability include learning to speak Spanish or earning Emergency Medical Dispatch certification from the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch.
- Strayer University - Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
- Michigan State University - Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Rasmussen College - Justice Studies Programs offering a wide range of industry-relevant programs
- Utica College - Online Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice
The job of telecommunicator involves the following tasks:
- Receive 911-emergency and non-emergency calls from the public
- Prioritize calls according to their nature and severity
- Dispatch the appropriate police, fire and/or medical units to the scene
- Operate police computer information channel
- Maintain accurate records of all calls
- Access Colorado and National Crime Information Centers (NCIC/CCIC)
- Train new personnel
Step 2. Meet Requirements and Apply in Aurora
The requirements for the position of 911 dispatcher (telecommunicator) are:
- High school diploma or its equivalent AND one year experience in a public safety environment that included radio communication OR
- High school diploma AND enough additional education and experience to demonstrate knowledge of public safety terminology, laws and procedures
- Bi-lingual in English and Spanish (preferred but not required)
- Ability to operate a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system
- Knowledge of Aurora’s streets, locations and landmarks
- Ability to maintain effective relationships with the public and co-workers
- Able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing
- Skill in data entry and multi-tasking
- Willing to work shifts, nights, weekends and holidays
- EMD, CPR and/or NCIC/CCIC certifications (preferred but not mandatory)
All Department of Public Safety jobs are processed by the Aurora Department of Human Resources. Contact them for job descriptions, open positions and online application forms or call the Aurora job hotline at 303-739-7222.
Step 3. Complete Training and Begin Working in Aurora
As a newly hired telecommunicator, you will receive classroom training to earn any certifications you do not already have. This is followed by on-the-job training alongside an experienced dispatcher. When you have completed the training period you will be fully qualified as a call-taker, service channel operator, emergency fire dispatcher and emergency police dispatcher.
The average annual salary of 911 dispatchers in Aurora, Colorado is $46,235. You can expect to start at about $38,076 (depending on education and experience) and earn regular raises up to $54,394.
Step 4. Continue with Training and Education
The manager of the Aurora 911 Call Center is proud of its “progressive training program.” All 911 dispatchers have ongoing training beyond the initial training given to new employees so they remain up-to-date on all emergency dispatcher laws and techniques. In 2010, Aurora telecommunicators received a total of 10,400 hours of training in customer service and emergency dispatch procedures.
The emphasis on training paid off on July 20, 2012 when a crazed gunman entered the Aurora movie theater during a special midnight premiere of the Batman movie, “Dark Knight Rises.” Aurora was immediately thrown into the national spotlight. Dispatchers who were working at the time said they had to draw on all of their training to remain calm during the five-plus hour ordeal of directing police, ambulances and other resources to the horrific scene where 12 people in the audience were killed and over 50 were injured.