How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Johnson County, Kansas

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office operates the dispatch center for 911 calls from Olathe, unincorporated areas of the county, and a number of other cities.  Some of the other cities the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office services include:

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  • Gardner
  • Merriam
  • Mission
  • Roeland Park

Deputy sheriffs answer all 911 calls at the County Communications Center (CCC).  Their jobs also entail transferring calls for fire and medical service to Johnson County Emergency Communications.  These operators are also located at the CCC.  Here is a step-by-step guide to become a deputy sheriff and then a 911 dispatcher for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

Meet Johnson County Basic Requirements and Consider your Education Options
Go Through the Johnson County Hiring Process
Undergo Four Phases of Training



Step 1.  Meet Johnson County Basic Requirements and Consider your
Education Options

Before you can apply to become a deputy sheriff, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be 21 years old by the time you are appointed
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have an honorable discharge from the military (if you are a veteran)
  • Possess a driver’s license that is valid
  • Not have any convictions for felonies
  • Be in good physical condition (average or above average)
  • Have eyesight that is correctable to 20/20 (both eyes)
  • Be fluent in English

Although the Sheriff’s Department only specifies the need for a high school education, there is a lot of competition to become a 911 dispatcher.  You can distinguish yourself from other candidates by obtaining an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field.  You can obtain this type of degree from a number of schools in Kansas or from one of the many online colleges that offer this type of program.



Step 2.  Go Through the Johnson County Hiring Process

The first step of the application process is a Civil Service Exam.  Once you have passed this with a score of 70% or greater, you will be given an application for employment and a personal history packet.

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Once you have been deemed a suitable candidate, you will go through the following steps:

  • Physical Ability Test
  • Personal Interview
  • Polygraph Examination
  • Background Check
  • Evaluation by the Civil Service Board
  • Interview by a Sheriff’s Board

At this point, you may receive a conditional offer of employment.  You will then go through the following steps:

  • Physical Exam
  • Drug Screening Test
  • Psychological Interview



Step 3.  Undergo Four Phases of Training

Once you have been assigned to the Communications Division, you will go through four phases of training for the 15 week long Communications Training Program.  You will have to demonstrate that you are proficient in your training before you can continue to the next phase.

Phase I – You will start with Primary Radio Dispatching for eight weeks of training.  Your training officer will cover all of the policy and procedures and introduce you to the computer systems and databases that you will be using.  Then, you will be exposed to radio scenarios such as traffic stops and vehicle pursuits.  After that, you will dispatch calls while your training officer observes and instructs you.

Phase II – Once you have mastered primary radio dispatching, you will be exposed to the secondary radio channel for the next two weeks.  This channel is used to reduce the level of traffic on the primary channel.  In Phase II, you will hear officers conduct police business related to the following:

  • Criminal history
  • Checking for wants and warrants
  • Ordering tow trucks

Phase III – You will spend four weeks answering emergency and non-emergency service calls and learn the following types of skills:

  • Interviewing citizens
  • Collecting their information to determine what to do next
  • Entering the information into the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System
  • Routing calls to the appropriate dispatcher

Phase IV – The training officer will observe you for the final week of your training during which time you will be expected to conduct yourself as a 911 dispatcher while getting little or no help from your training officer.  You will rotate between call-taking and radio zones every four hours during this training component.

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You will become an official communications officer in Johnson County, Kansas when you pass the final comprehensive test and are approved by the Training Sergeant.

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