How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in North Scituate, Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s new state of the art E-911 Call Center is located in the Rhode Island Police State Headquarters in North Scituate.  In 2012, 911 dispatchers working from this call center answered over half a million calls from residents in need of police, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel.

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

Obtain Experience and a Relevant Education
Complete the Application Process
Undergo Training

The state of Rhode Island uses an enhanced 911 uniform emergency telephone system.  It took advantage of GIS (geographic information system) data to map each E911 address site.  This allowed the Rhode Island Department of Public Safety to create a map that correlated street names and a range of addresses for each such site in all of the 39 cities and towns in the state.

911 calls in Rhode Island are private.  As of December 2013, it is one of only six states in the country that restrict the dissemination of 911 calls to the media to protect the information provided in the calls.  This could include sensitive information such as mental health problems that citizens wish to keep private.



Step 1. Obtain Experience and a Relevant Education

To apply for a position as an E911 telecommunicator in Rhode Island, you must have at least a high school education.  The state prefers applicants who have an associate’s degree.  It also requires two years of experience in a high call volume environment and a high degree of computer literacy.

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Prospective 911 dispatchers frequently get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in one of the following fields:

  • Communications
  • Criminal justice
  • Fire science
  • Emergency medical services

You can obtain this type of degree from a college within Rhode Island or from one of the many online programs that specialize in these fields.



Step 2.  Complete the Application Process

To apply for a 911 dispatcher job in Rhode Island, you need to start at the Human Resources website when telecommunicator positions are being advertised.  You can download an application form that must be signed before you can submit it.

You will also need to attach a resume, and you have the option of filling out an equal employment opportunity card.

You should send your completed application to the Department of Public Safety, 311 Danielson Pike, North Scituate, RI  02857.

911 dispatcher positions are not civil service positions, so you do not have to be on the civil service list or take the civil service examination.  You will have to undergo the following steps once your application has been selected:

  • Medical examination
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Law enforcement background check
  • Interview
  • Red Cross CPR training


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Step 3.  Undergo Training

Once you have been hired, the Department of Public Safety will thoroughly train you to do the following:

  • Operate a telecommunications console
  • Combine monitoring multiple computer screens while prioritizing and documenting information from the callers
  • Provide the appropriate advice to the callers
  • Dispatch police, emergency medical, and/or fire services as needed

You will be working on one of ten video and access control monitoring workstations.  To be able to be a 911 operator, you will have to complete a probationary period of 130 days on various shifts.  Your shifts will run for four days, and then you will get two days off.  Overtime is mandatory.

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