911 emergency communications are delivered to the citizens of Fargo, North Dakota, through the Red River Regional Dispatch Center.
The Red River Regional Dispatch Center, a jointly operated dispatch center created by the City of Moorhead, Clay County, Minnesota, the City of Fargo, North Dakota, and Cass County, North Dakota, was created in 2001 and was the first of its kind, as it crossed state lines. It currently serves the following agencies:
- 7 city police departments
- 2 county sheriff’s departments
- 3 city fire departments
- 29 rural volunteer fire departments
- 15 rural EMS providers
- F-M ambulance
The Red River Regional Dispatch Center covers an area of 2,810 square miles and serves about 210,000 people.
If you want to learn how to become a 911 dispatcher in Fargo with the Red River Regional Dispatch Center you must complete a number of steps:
|Meet Minimum Employment Requirements in Fargo|
|Apply for Employment and Complete Pre-Employment Testing|
|Complete Training Program for New 911 Operators|
Step 1: Meet Minimum Employment Requirements in Fargo
Before applying for a job at the Red River Regional Dispatch Center, you must ensure you meet minimum requirements for employment as a 911 dispatcher. Specifically, you must be at least 18 years old, and you must possess a high school diploma or the equivalent. Candidates for 911 dispatcher jobs must also:
- Have knowledge of computer operations
- Be able to read and follow oral and written instructions
- Be able to type at least 40 wpm
- Be able to prioritize situations and make the best decisions based on the information received
- Be able to handle multiple tasks and communication information from several sources
- Be able to work under stressful situations
- Be able to maintain respectful working relationships with co-workers, supervisors, and the public
Although a college degree is not required to achieve 911 operator jobs in Fargo, many individuals nevertheless seek a formal educational program through a college or university as to prepare for a career in emergency communications. Popular college program options for 911 dispatchers include:
- Grand Canyon University - B.S. in Justice Studies, and M.S. in Criminal Justice
- SNHU - A.S. in Criminal Justice, B.S. in Criminal Justice - Police Administrations & Operations, and M.S. in Criminal Justice
- 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
- Public Safety
- Emergency Management
- Homeland Security
- Criminal Justice
You may choose to pursue an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or professional certificate in one of the above programs or a similar program that includes coursework that is in line with emergency dispatching and communications.
Step 2. Apply for Employment and Complete Pre-Employment Testing
The Red River Regional Dispatch Center accepts applications for 911 dispatchers (communications operator) through its online application system or by filling out a paper application (download and print from the website).
You must provide proof of your typing speed with your application. You can complete a typing test at your local job service agency.
If you are chosen as a candidate for a 911 operator job, you will need to complete the pre-employment process, which includes undergoing a criminal background investigation, polygraph examination, a psychological exam, a hearing test, and a complete physical examination.
Step 3. Complete Training Program for New 911 Operators
New 911 operators must complete a new dispatcher training program, which is 21 weeks long and is divided into a two-week orientation period in a classroom setting and three, structured on-the-job phases. Each phase is overseen by a Communications Training Officer. During the orientation period, you can expect to learn some of the basic of the structure of the Dispatch Center, including:
- Computer operations
- Communications duties
The three, on-the-job phases are broken down as follows:
- Phase One: A five-week program that includes basics of the Department, including: communications equipment, department forms, state teletype systems, and NCIC
- Phase Two: A five-week program that includes fire department and Cass County dispatching information and performing the duties of the 911 dispatcher position
- Phase Three: Includes three weeks of training on the Moorhead/Clay County radios and four weeks of training at the Fargo Police Channel I
All 911 dispatchers working for the Red River Regional Dispatch Center must also achieve EMD (emergency medical dispatcher) certification, NCIC certification, and CPR certification after being hired with the Department.