All 911 calls in Colorado Springs are processed through the Colorado Springs Public Safety Communications Center. 911 operators who dispatch first responder units from both the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) and the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) answer both emergency and non-emergency calls.
Entry-level operators, called emergency response technicians, are trained to keep the caller calm, collect accurate information, provide lifesaving advice when needed, and dispatch the appropriate personnel, vehicles and equipment to the scene. All 911 calls are recorded and retained for a minimum of three years.
You’ll need to take the following steps to become a 911 dispatcher in Colorado Springs:
|Get the Right Education|
|Complete the Colorado Springs Application Process|
|Fulfill Training Requirements and Begin Work in Colorado Springs|
|Participate in Continuing Education|
The Colorado Springs Public Safety Communications Center, along with both the COPD and COFD, was recognized by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for completing the requirements for becoming a member of the “Missing Kids Readiness Project.”
Step 1. Get the Right Education
In addition to a high school diploma or its equivalent, Colorado Springs requires 911 dispatchers to also have training in dispatch communication or a related field. There are over a dozen public and private colleges in Colorado Springs, many of whom offer associates or bachelor’s degrees in relevant fields of study, like criminal justice, public safety or homeland security.
Schools that offer programs in emergency dispatch focus on subjects that such as:
- Working with computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems
- Using longitude and latitude to plot locations
- Active listening techniques
- Radio technologies
- Responding in crisis situations
- Penal codes
- Medical protocol/CPR and delivering babies
- Handling suicide, violent and hostage situations
You can also opt to earn basic dispatch certification from the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch. Their website lists dates and locations where the three-day class is being offered. Your chances of landing the job you want are greatly improved by having more education/training than your competitors.
Emergency dispatchers in Colorado Springs handle 911 calls using CAD, radio and telephone dispatch systems to send the appropriate police, fire and/or medical unit(s) to the scene. The 911 dispatchers serve as a communication link until the situation is resolved.. They also handle non-emergency problems such as non-injury accidents or public disturbance complains. Other duties include:
- Provide on-the-job training for new recruits
- Process warrant requests through the Colorado Crime Information Center or the Colorado Bureau of Investigation
- Monitor robbery alarm controls in areas with crime patterns
- Notify fire stations of street closures and out-of-service sprinkler systems
- Monitor computerized weather alerts and notify first responders
Step 2. Complete the Application Process
Minimum qualifications for the position of emergency response technician are:
- High school education plus some specialized training
- Typing proficiency of at least 40 wpm
- U.S. citizen or proof of eligibility to work in this nation
- Willing to work shifts, nights, weekends and holidays
- Willing to work in a closed, secure environment
- Able to communicate effectively with the public, police and fire personnel
- Able to use tact and good judgment under stressful conditions
- Have excellent memory retention and quick recall
Highly desirable but not mandatory: Bilingual in English/Spanish
The City of Colorado Springs Department of Human Resources handles all applications for emergency response technician jobs with the Public Safety Communications Center. Visit the Human Resources website to find available positions, online application forms and hiring process instructions.
When your application is accepted you will be given a time/place for the following:
- Typing proficiency test
- Polygraph examination
- Drug test
- Extensive background check
Step 3. Fulfill Training Requirements and Begin Work
New emergency response technicians receive upfront training in how to use CAD and radio systems, as well as how to handle the many different types of calls received by the center. All new operators also receive on-the-job training alongside an experienced 911 dispatcher before handling calls on their own.
The average annual salary of 911 dispatchers in Colorado Springs is $37,252. You can expect to start at about $30,678 with regular wage increases up to $43,826.
Step 4. Participate in Continuing Education
All 911 dispatchers are expected to keep up with the latest techniques, procedures and technologies. One way to accomplish this goal is to earn certifications. The National Academies of Emergency Dispatch offers the following certification courses:
- Emergency Medical Dispatcher
- Emergency Fire Dispatcher
- Emergency Police Dispatcher
- Emergency Telecommunications Technology
- Emergency Dispatch Instructor
- Emergency Dispatch Executive
- Communications Center Manager