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Career Opportunity

Public Safety Communications Dispatcher - Department of Emergency Management (8238)

Recruitment: REF19988S

Published: March 21, 2024


Kacie Kesler -
Hazel Ahumada -

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Department: Emergency Management
Job class: 8238-Public Safety Communications Dispatcher
Salary range: $108,004.00 - $137,852.00
Role type: Permanent Civil Service What does this mean?
Hours: Full-time
Exam type: Continuous
Rule: Rule of 5 What does this mean?
List type: Entrance


  • Application Deadline: No sooner than March 24th, 2024 at 11:59pm PT
  • Compensation Range: $106,418 - $135,824
  • Lateral Transfer: Salary Step is based on experience and training
  • Recruitment ID: Eligible List ID (903154)

Role description

Under general supervision, a Public Safety Communications Dispatcher receives incoming emergency (9-1-1) and non-emergency telephone calls from both the public and public safety agencies. This position dispatches police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) field units to respond to emergency and non-emergency calls for service over a two-way radio system utilizing a computer-aided dispatch system.

The Department of Emergency Management’s Division of Emergency Communications operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Public Safety Communications Dispatchers may be assigned to work various schedules which include day shift, swing shift, night shift, weekends, holidays, and overtime. Public Safety Communications Dispatchers work 8-hour or 10-hour shifts (or longer) and must be willing and able to respond, report, and mobilize as necessary.

Examples of essential functions include, without limitation:

  • Receives emergency and non-emergency calls and efficiently gathers, evaluates, prioritizes, and documents information from callers.
  • Dispatches police, fire, and EMS field units to specific locations using a computer-aided dispatch system, multiple video display terminals, two-way radio dispatch console, and related equipment.
  • Evaluates incoming reports of police, fire, and medical emergencies; immediately transmits complete and accurate information to appropriate field personnel.
  • Monitors, coordinates, and accurately maintains the status of incidents and records of dispatched emergency service personnel and apparatus.
  • Receives and disseminates information from other law enforcement and emergency service computer networks related to jurisdictional requests for police, fire, or medical service assistance, or to notices of wanted persons, stolen property, warrants, and all-points bulletins; maintains confidentiality of information.
  • Maintains familiarity with area geography including major streets and buildings; recognizes circumstances that may pose hazards to public safety field units and the public.
  • Maintains up-to-date understanding of public safety policies and procedures for the Department of Emergency Management, police, fire, EMS, and other emergency service providers.
  • Responds to routine and non-routine inquiries regarding police, fire, or emergency medical services; properly classifies and prioritizes any report or complaint and determines appropriate course of action; provides appropriate referrals as necessary.
  • Works various 8-hour or 10-hour shifts, or longer, including day shift, swing shift, night shift, weekends, holidays, and overtime.

Working Conditions: Public Safety Communications Dispatchers work in a fast-paced, highly stressful, and confined environment.

How to qualify

1. Possession of a high school diploma or equivalent (GED or High School Proficiency Examination); AND

2. Two (2) years of experience in a public contact position providing information and/or a service, or in a position where the primary responsibility is interacting with people.

Completion of thirty (30) semester units or forty-five (45) quarter units of coursework from an accredited college or university may substitute for one (1) year of the required experience as described above.

Note: One year of experience is equivalent to 2,000 hours (2,000 hours of qualifying work experience is based on a 40-hour work week). Applicants must meet the minimum qualification requirement by the filing deadline unless otherwise noted.

Note: Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification for this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco. 


Applications for City and County of San Francisco jobs are only accepted through an online process. Visit to begin the application process. Select “Apply Now” at the top of the job and follow instructions on the screen.

Applicants will receive a confirmation email that their online application has been received in response to every announcement for which they file. Failure to receive this email means that the online application was not submitted or received.

Terms of Announcement and Appeal Rights:
Applicants must be guided by the provisions of this announcement, including requirements, time periods and other particulars, except when superseded by federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations. The terms of this announcement may be appealed under Civil Service Rule 110.4. Such appeals must be submitted in writing to the Department of Human Resources, 1 S Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103  by close of business on the 5th business day following the issuance date of this examination announcement. Information concerning other Civil Service Commission Rules involving announcements, applications and examination policies, including applicant appeal rights, can be found on the Civil Service Commission website at

Additional Information Regarding Employment with the City and County of San Francisco: Click Here

What else should I know?

Minimum Qualification Supplemental Questionnaire (Weight: Qualifying)
The Minimum Qualification Supplemental Questionnaire is designed to obtain specific information regarding an applicant's experience in relation to the minimum qualifications for this position.

Performance Examination: (Weight: Pass/Fail)
Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications will be invited to participate in a performance examination designed to measure aptitude for performing public safety communications dispatcher work including, but not limited to: the ability to prioritize and multitask effectively in a fast-paced, high-stress environment; the ability to recall facts, details, and other information; and the ability to type and operate a computer terminal at a speed of 40 words per minute (net). Candidates who fail typing but fall within 35-39 words per minute (net) will be provided an opportunity to retake typing within 72 hours of the performance exam.  Candidates are encouraged to practice keyboarding prior to the performance exam and retest. Sample Tests

Oral Examination: (Weight: 100%)
Candidates who pass the performance examination will be invited to participate in a scenario-based oral examination. Candidates will be tested to determine their relative knowledge, skills, and abilities in job-related areas including, but not limited to: the ability to collect information and make sound decisions; the ability to analyze and prioritize situations; oral communication skills; and interpersonal skills.  

NOTE: Applicants who fail either the performance or oral examination must wait six (6) months before reapplying to this continuous recruitment.

Continuous Eligible List:
Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications and receive a passing score on both examination components will have their names placed on the eligible list in rank order. Names of successful candidates will be added to the existing eligible list with an eligibility period of twelve (12) months. Candidates are not allowed to reapply during their 12-month eligibility period. Names will be removed from the continuous list at the end of the eligibility period. Candidates do not have the option to automatically extend their eligibility. The hiring department may extend candidate’s duration of eligibility, based on departmental needs. Please note, reapplying is not permitted while your name is still on the eligible list.

Successful candidates will be placed on the eligible list in rank order according to their final score. Final scores will be valid for twelve (12) months.  

Score Report:
A confidential eligible list of applicant names that have passed the civil service examination process will be created and used for certification purposes only. An examination score report will be established so applicants can view the ranks, final scores, and number of eligible candidates. However, an eligible list shall be made available for public inspection, upon request, once the eligible list is exhausted or expired and referrals resolved. The eligible list/score report resulting from this civil service examination process is subject to change after adoption as directed by the Human Resources Director or the Civil Service Commission.

Certification Rule:
The Certification Rule for the eligible list resulting from this examination will be Rule of Five Scores. The Department of Emergency Management (DEM) will administer the remaining processes outlined below to determine who shall advance further in the hiring process and be considered for appointment.

Employment, Character, and Background Investigation:
Each candidate’s background will be carefully reviewed to determine fitness for employment. Information received from candidates is certified by investigation of records held by the Criminal Justice System and the Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as contact with employers and references listed by the candidate. Reasons for non-consideration include: the use of controlled substances including marijuana, felony convictions, repeated or serious violations of the law, inability to work cooperatively with coworkers, negative financial/credit history, or other job-related factors. Criminal history that would preclude access to the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) is reason for non- consideration. Applicants currently on criminal probation in this or any other state will be disqualified. Criminal records will be carefully reviewed; those candidates who do not report their complete criminal history records on their application will be disqualified. Deliberate inaccuracies or omissions will be cause for non-consideration.

Note: Candidates will be prompted to submit a completed Personal History Statement (PHS), Authorization to Release Information/Waiver form, and additional documents prior to the initiation of the Background Investigation.

Polygraph Examination:
Candidates are required to undergo a polygraph examination to verify the veracity and accuracy of the information submitted regarding, but not limited to, the use of controlled substances including marijuana, driving, criminal, and employment history, and other job-related factors. DEM will not consider individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon conditions which are not subject to change such as felony conviction, involvement in the distribution of illegal substances, etc.

Psychological Evaluation:
A psychological examination is required prior to appointment to determine the candidate’s fitness for emergency work.

Medical Examination:
Prior to appointment, eligible persons must successfully pass a medical examination to determine their ability to perform the essential functions of the job.

Candidates who are rejected for hire based upon a history of controlled substance abuse including marijuana and/or background factors are not eligible to reapply for two years from the date of disqualification. Candidates who are rejected for hire based upon psychological testing are not eligible to reapply for one year from the date of disqualification. DEM reserves the right to disqualify individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon conditions that are not subject to change, e.g., felony convictions, controlled substance abuse. In addition, the Department may reject, within a two year period from final disqualification, individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon background factors and, within a one year period, individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon psychological testing. Final disposition, in the instance of an appeal of disqualification, shall be that date on which all administrative remedies have been exhausted.

If you have any questions, please contact the exam analyst, Kacie Kesler, at 

The City and County of San Francisco encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to apply. Applicants will be considered regardless of their sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition (associated with cancer, a history of cancer, or genetic characteristics), HIV/AIDS status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, military and veteran status, or other protected category under the law.