How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Sussex County, Delaware

In 2011, 87% of the 911 calls in Sussex County were handled by county dispatchers, while a small percentage of the county’s 911 calls were answered by the Rehoboth and Seaford Police Departments.

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The Sussex County 911 Center handled over 105,000 calls for medical, fire, and police intervention in 2011.  The National Academies of Emergency Dispatch re-accredited the center as a “center of excellence” for being an emergency medical dispatch site.

Whether you’re interested in working as a police or fire/EMS dispatcher, follow this guide to become a 911 dispatcher in Sussex County:

Consider Higher Education
Complete the Sussex County Application Process
Undergo Training

Separate 911 dispatchers who work at different computer consoles on opposite sides of the room provide fire/EMS and police dispatch respectively.  Emergency communications specialists dispatch the following services over four shifts:

  • Ambulance companies
  • County paramedics
  • Fire companies
  • State Police Medevac helicopter

Telecommunicators from the Delaware State Police (DSP) SUSCOM unit direct police officers to the scenes of accidents, crimes, or complaints in Sussex County.  They use four consoles on the other side of the room.



Step 1.  Obtain the Necessary Education

The minimum educational requirements to become a 911 dispatcher in Sussex County include having graduated from high school and having had course work in data entry or typing.

You can distinguish yourself from the competition by obtaining formal college training in a field that directly ties into dispatching.

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Candidates frequently obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in communications, emergency medical training, emergency management, public administration, psychology or criminal justice from campus-based schools in and around Sussex County, or through online schools.



Step 2.  Complete the Sussex County Application Process

Police 911 Dispatcher – You can apply for a telecommuncations specialist position with the Delaware State Police when there are vacancies for the position.  You can determine this at the DSP employment site where you can also download an application.  You can submit a resume, but it must be provided along with your application.

Fire/Medical 911 Dispatcher – The job requirements for this position specify “some” experience, knowledge and training.  The entry level position is for an emergency communications specialist I position.  Hiring for these types of jobs is conducted within the Department of Human Resources, where you can view current job openings and download an application from this page.

The selection process for both types of dispatching positions involves the following steps:

  • Computerized test on ability to multitask
  • Interview
  • Background check by the DSP



Step 3.  Undergo Training

Both of these types of 911 dispatcher positions involve a substantial amount of on the job training.

Police 911 Dispatchers – One of the primary things you will learn is to input and retrieve information from the following systems:

  • Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS)
  • Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)
  • National Crime Information Center (NCIC)

You will learn to do the following

  • Receive and route calls based on their priority and nature
  • Read grids, amps, and charts to direct police officers to the scene of the emergency or the complaint.
  • Receive and dispatch information to municipal and state agencies
  • Monitor an 800mhz radio system

You must maintain a certification in Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD).

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Fire/Medical 911 Dispatchers – You will receive training in the following areas:

  • Fielding emergency fire and medial calls to 911
  • Handling security calls for County properties
  • Routing calls when the County’s sewer facilities is having problems
  • Tracking County Sheriffs who are serving warrants

State and County law requires that you obtain the following accreditations:

  • Emergency Fire Dispatcher
  • Emergency Medical Dispatcher

Once you have been trained, you will rotate through different phases of 911 call processing every four hours:

  • Taking calls
  • Dispatching
    • Fires
    • Medical emergencies

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