The 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center (ECC) of the Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Police is the largest such center in the state. 911 dispatchers at the ECC handle some 610,000 emergency calls in a given year, addressing emergencies that require police, fire, and emergency medical services.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to join the highly trained professionals of the Montgomery County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) and become a 911 dispatcher:
|Obtain the Necessary Education|
|Complete the Application Process|
|Undergo Classroom and On-the-Job Training and Obtain Certifications|
Step 1. Obtain the Necessary Education
The only requirement to apply to be a public safety communications specialist I in Montgomery County is to have a year of professional experience working with the public. However, obtaining formal education in one of a number of fields may help you stand out when you apply for this position.
- 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
Fields that are applicable to emergency dispatching include the following:
- Criminal justice
- Police science
- Fire science
- Emergency medicine
- Emergency management
You can obtain these types of degrees from colleges within Maryland or from a number of accredited online schools.
Step 2. Complete the Application Process
The application process for jobs with Montgomery County is completed online, and you can find instructions at the Human Resource Department’s website. You should be prepared to complete your application when you apply, since you cannot save a partially completed version. You should also have a resume to submit with your application. Be prepared to spend up to an hour when you apply for this position.
Once you have been selected as a potential 911 operator, you should expect to go through the following procedures:
- Physical exam
- Drug and alcohol screen
Step 3. Undergo Classroom and On-the-Job Training and Obtain Certifications
Once you have been chosen as a 911 dispatcher, you will go through an intensive training program that has six phases, so that you will be prepared to dispatch calls. You will start with academic classroom training that will involve the following:
Then you will move onto extensive on the job instruction where you will work closely with an experienced 911 dispatcher. You will also ride along with police officers to get a better understanding of what your job will entail.
When you have been thoroughly trained, you will take calls and be closely supervised. As you grow increasingly skilled, you will work more independently. A specialist or a supervisor will closely monitor your work over the course of a twelve month probationary period.
You will need to obtain the following certifications:
- Dispatch protocol systems:
- Law enforcement
- Fire service
- NCIC (National Crime Information Center) system access
Also, you will need to obtain a license for Emergency Medical Dispatching, and you will need to be able to type 24 words a minute.