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Career Opportunity

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

Recruitment: REF39633W

Published: July 19, 2024


Vanessa Auyong -
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 the List What does this mean?
List type: Entrance


  • Lateral Transfer: Salary Step is based on experience and training
  • Compensation Range: $108,004 - $137,852 annually
  • Recruitment ID: X00062

For more information about the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), please visit:

Role description

Under general supervision, a Public Safety Communications Dispatcher ("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.

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

Essential duties can be reviewed in detail here and include:

  • 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: 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 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 30 semester units or 45 quarter units of coursework from an accredited college or university may substitute for 1 year of the required experience as described above.

Note: 1 year of experience is equivalent to 2000 hours (based on a 40-hour work week). Applicants must meet the minimum qualification requirement by the filing deadline unless otherwise noted. Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification. 

Selection Procedures
Supplemental Questionnaire (Qualifying)
Applicants are required to complete a questionnaire as part of the online application process that 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 an online Performance Examination designed to measure aptitude for performing Dispatcher work. This computerized exam can be taken at a time and location of one’s convenience, but only within the time period specified on the exam notification. Candidates must have access to a computer with clear audio, a mouse, keyboard (9-key recommended), and reliable internet connection to participate in this exam.  

Exam Preparation:
Candidates are strongly encouraged to review the following resources thoroughly:

Candidates are strongly encouraged to take these sample tests:

Note: As part of the exam, candidates will be tested on their ability to type at a speed of 40 words per minute (WPM) (net). Candidates who only fail typing but fall within 35-39 WPM (net) will be provided an opportunity to retake the typing test within a 72-hour period. Candidates who fail the Performance Examination must wait 1 month before retesting. Candidates who pass will be prompted to complete their Personal History Statement and supplemental documents (see below).

Continuous Eligible List:
Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications and receive a passing score on the exam will have their names placed on the eligible list. Candidates who are awarded veteran’s preference points will be in a higher rank. 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 list at the end of the eligibility period. Candidates do not have the option to automatically extend their eligibility. DEM may extend a candidate’s duration of eligibility.  

Score Report:
A confidential eligible list of candidate names that have passed the civil service exam process will be created and used for certification purposes only. An exam score report will be established so candidates 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 exam 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 the List. DEM will administer the remaining processes outlined below to determine who shall advance further in the hiring process and be considered for appointment. DEM reserves the right to waive selection components for individuals based on prior experience or certification.

Employment, Character, and Background Investigation:
1. Candidates who pass the exam will be prompted to submit the Personal History Statement (PHS) and supplemental documents prior to the initiation of the background investigation. The PHS document is time-consuming to complete; candidates are encouraged to start reviewing and preparing now.

2. Candidates may be required to undergo a Polygraph Evaluation or other measure to verify the veracity/accuracy of the information submitted. DEM will not consider individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon conditions which are not subject to change.

3. Ongoing: A comprehensive background investigation is required. Each candidate’s background will be carefully reviewed to determine fitness for employment. Information received 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, 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 CLETS is reason for non-consideration. Applicants currently on criminal probation will be disqualified. Criminal records will be carefully reviewed; 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.

Oral Assessment:
Select candidates will be invited to participate in an oral assessment that will evaluate candidates on job-related factors.

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.

Note: Candidates rejected for hire based upon background factors are not eligible to reapply for 2 years from the date of disqualification. Candidates rejected for hire based upon psychological testing are not eligible to reapply for 1 year from the date of disqualification. DEM reserves the right to reject these applicants and disqualify individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon conditions that are not subject to change. Final disposition, in the instance of an appeal of disqualification, shall be that date on which all administrative remedies have been exhausted.

What else should I know?

How to Apply:
Applications are only accepted through an online process. Select “Apply Now” and follow instructions on the screen. Applicants will receive a confirmation email that their application has been received for every application submitted. Failure to receive this email means that your application was not submitted or received.

Terms of Announcement and Appeal Rights:
Applicants must be guided by the provisions of this announcement except when superseded by 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 DHR, 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 announcement. Information concerning other Civil Service Commission Rules including applicant appeal rights, can be found here.

Click here for additional information. If you have questions, please contact

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.