How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in Dona Ana County, New Mexico

The Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA) was the first consolidated dispatch center in the State of New Mexico and was formed through an agreement between Dona Ana County and the City of Las Cruces.

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The MVRDA, which includes an operational area of about 3,800 miles in Southern New Mexico, serves as the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the following areas within Dona Ana County:

  • Village of Hatch
  • Town of Mesilla
  • Sunland Park
  • Las Cruces
  • Anthony

In 2012, the MVRDA, which serves about 214,000 residents, received more than 344,000 telephone calls, 128,000 of which were emergency 911 calls.

If you want to become a 911 operator in Dona Ana County and work for the MVRDA, you must complete a number of steps:

Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment
Apply for Employment and Complete Pre-Employment Testing
Complete Mandatory Training



Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment

Before you apply to become a 911 operator with the MVRDA in Dona Ana County, you must ensure you meet the minimum requirements for employment, which include being at least 18 years old. To be eligible for employment as a 911 dispatcher, you must be able to show proficiency at call-taking for at least four months.

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Although not a requirement to become as a 911 dispatcher in Dona Ana County, you may choose to pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related program as to best prepare for this profession and the many opportunities for advancement that may present themselves. College programs in emergency dispatching do not exist, but there are a host of similar programs that individuals in this profession seek, including:

  • Public Safety
  • Communications
  • Emergency Management
  • Criminal Justice
  • Communications
  • Homeland Security

For example, just a few of the programs that you may choose to pursue include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Emergency and Disaster Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security



Step 2. Apply for Employment and Complete Pre-Employment Testing

Most MVRDA job announcements for 911 dispatchers appear on Dona Ana County’s website, the City of Las Cruces’ website or the MVRDA’s website.  You can obtain more information on job openings with the MVRDA by contacting them at 575-526-07945 or at [email protected].

Pre-employment testing includes both drug and alcohol testing.

All applicants must attend at least one mandatory pre-employment session at the MVRDA headquarters on 130 West Lohman Avenue in Las Cruces. Pre-employment sessions are posted on the MVRDA website when they are hiring.



Step 3. Complete Mandatory Training

All new 911 dispatchers must complete a 10-week training program with MVRDA’s Training Department. The training program includes classroom instruction, simulation, and hands-on live training.

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Most of the time, the new hire training programs run Monday through Friday, from 8AM to 5PM. During the 10-week training program, new hires become certified in basic first aid, CPR, emergency medical dispatch interrogation, and NCIC operations. They also learn how to use the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, the 911 telephone system, and emergency communication skills. Weekly testing should be expected throughout the program.

All 911 operators through MVRDA must also attend a 3-week training program through the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy to become state certified as a Public Safety Telecommunicator. Training and certification must be completed within one year of hire.

All 911 operators at the MVRDA must also engage in continuing education training, as required by the Training Department.

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