How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Jefferson County, Kentucky

Recently, 911 services from various agencies in Jefferson County and Louisville were merged into one agency:  the MetroSafe Communications Center.  911 dispatchers in Jefferson County are trained to handle calls for all manner of emergency, whether callers require EMS, police, and fire service.

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Jefferson County’s 911 dispatch center has a long running problem with people dialing 911 for matters that are not emergencies.  As far back as 2000, forty percent of the calls made to 911 in Jefferson County were non-emergency calls. Public education initiatives have helped to improve the situation, allowing 911 dispatchers to focus on handling the most urgent matters facing citizens of Jefferson County.

If you have what it takes, follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to become a 911 dispatcher in Jefferson County:

Obtain the Necessary Education and Training
Complete the Application Process
Undergo Academy Training



Step 1.  Obtain the Necessary Education and Training

The job description for a telecommunicator does not specify any formal college training.  Many applicants for 911 operator positions distinguish themselves from other candidates, however, by seeking formal education in one of the following fields:

  • Communications
  • Police science
  • Fire science
  • Criminal justice
  • Emergency medical treatment

Obtaining a degree in one of these areas of study will leave you poised to handle the rigors of a 911 dispatcher position.

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You can obtain degrees in these fields from schools located in Kentucky or through one of the accredited online colleges that offers these types of degrees.



Step 2.  Complete the Application Process

You must first print an application and fill it out.  Then, return it to the Sheriff’s Office, either in person, or by mailing it to the following address:

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
531 Court Place, Suite 600
Louisville, KY 40202.

When the Sheriff’s Office contacts you about your application, you will need to submit your fingerprints to the Kansas State Police and the FBI for a background check.  The department will handle it from there.

The application process involves the following steps:

  • Taking a psychological exam
  • Taking a polygraph exam
  • Undergoing a drug screen



Step 3.  Undergo Academy Training

Once the department is satisfied that you are a good candidate and you’ve been offered a job, you will be trained at the Basic Telecommunications Academy for four weeks.  You will live on the premises (excluding weekends) at the Eastern Kentucky (EKU) campus in Richmond.  The Department of Criminal Justice Training will administer your training.

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After you have graduated from the Academy, you will return to Jefferson County and be trained in the particular protocols of the 911 dispatch center.  Your training will involve handling administrative non-emergency calls in addition to dealing with emergencies.

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