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Bellingham Police- What-Comm Dispatcher

  • Contact Information

    Bellingham Police- What-Comm Dispatcher
    505 Grand Avenue
    Bellingham, Washington 98225
    Phone: (360) 778-8228
    Department Website

Agency Added: 11/30/2018 | Last updated: 01/09/2019

Community Information

On the shores of Bellingham Bay with Mount Baker as its backdrop, Bellingham is the last major city before the Washington coastline meets the Canadian border. The City of Bellingham, which serves as the county seat of Whatcom County, is at the center of a uniquely picturesque area offering a rich variety of recreational, cultural, educational and economic activities.

Department Information

A Public Safety Dispatcher receives and processes telephone requests for police, fire and medical emergency response. The person in this position determines the nature, urgency and jurisdiction of a call and either dispatches public safety personnel and equipment to the scene of the emergency or transfers the call to the appropriate jurisdiction. The Dispatcher enters information from the caller and responding units into a computer-aided dispatch software program and continually updates the status of those responding to the incident. The What-Comm Dispatch center serves as the Public Safety Answering Point for Whatcom County. The center also serves as the activation point for the AMBER Alert Plan for North Puget Sound.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: WHAT-COMM Dispatcher In Training This is the entry-level position for new Public Safety Dispatchers during their training period. A new hire will go through a structured training program to learn What-Comm policies and procedures for handling emergent and non-emergent calls as well as other agency, department, and dispatch center protocols. WHAT-COMM Dispatcher I A Dispatcher in Training will promote to Dispatcher I when he or she completes the initial training period and can independently handle the call receiving function. WHAT-COMM Dispatcher II A Dispatcher II is distinguished from the Dispatcher I position by the ability to handle both dispatch consoles as well as the call receiving function.

Essential Functions:
1. Receives, prioritizes, and routes emergency telephone calls from the public to appropriate jurisdictions. Enters the nature, location and source of the emergency call into a computer terminal using computer-aided dispatch software. Retrieves and evaluates information from the computer-based on knowledge of dispatch and emergency response procedures, status of available emergency responders and familiarity with major roads, local businesses and geographic features. Relays call information and/or dispatches appropriate Police personnel to the scene of the reported incident.
2. Enters and receives information such as wants, stolen vehicles, missing persons and runaways from a computer terminal with a nationwide law enforcement database and transmits requested information to law enforcement personnel in the field.
3. Communicates with a variety of agencies including US Customs, Canadian Customs, WSP, US Border Patrol, USCG, Homeland Security and Whidbey Island Naval Base regarding warrant service and resources that the agencies have available for emergencies.
4. Regularly contacts and updates status of field units according to established procedures and protocols. Contacts various resources as requested by field units.
5. Receives non-emergency telephone complaints and inquiries from the public. Determines the nature of the call based on established procedures and either refers the caller to the appropriate agency or enters the call in the computer and dispatches units according to the priority and urgency of the call.
6. Staffs the NAWAS phone and notifies Whatcom County Department of Emergency Management of changes. Notifies San Juan County of all situations that may affect them.

1. Generates routine reports such as the incident history reports and incident shift summaries.
2. Develops and recommends updates to comprehensive dispatch policies, procedures, and protocols as necessary for the efficient operations of the center. Identifies and recommends new policies and procedures to improve dispatch operations and minimize liability.
3. Performs Lead Worker duties as assigned to include posting overtime, making seating charts, and notifying Deputy Director of equipment/personnel issues and significant events that may impact staffing.
4. Performs training of new employees to include call receiving and radio dispatching.
5. Performs other duties within the scope of the classification.

Area Information

  • County: Whatcom
  • Population: 83,365
  • # of staff: Over 100 commissioned officers

Agency Requirements:

Category Requirement Required at time of..
Test Hire
Minimum Age 18 X  
US Citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident Yes, or can lawfully work in the U.S.   X
Driver's License Required Yes   X
Felony Conviction(s) as an Adult Must pass a Police criminal convictions records check, background investigation, psychological exam, and polygraph exam prior to hire.   X
Felony Conviction(s) as a Juvenile Must pass a Police criminal convictions records check, background investigation, psychological exam, and polygraph exam prior to hire.   X
Ability to Read & Write the English Language Yes X  
Other Experience and Training Requirements

• A minimum of one year of experience in a position with intensive public contact.
• Keyboard entry skills at a minimum of 40 wpm net.
• Experience or training in the use of computer software such as word processing, spreadsheets, database management, desktop publishing programs or other business/educational software preferred.
• Experience using multi-line phone systems preferred.
• Must acquire within first year of training a working knowledge of the geography of Whatcom County to include: cities and towns, locations and names of highways, main streets, major buildings and businesses and establishments such as names of parks.
• Previous experience in public safety dispatching preferred.

Necessary Special Requirements

• Must be able to obtain and maintain ACCESS certification within three months of hire.
• Must obtain and maintain Telecommunicator 1 & 2 certifications within twelve months of hire.
• Must pass a hearing evaluation prior to hire.
• Must pass a Police criminal convictions records check, background investigation, psychological exam, and polygraph exam prior to hire.
• Must pass a pre-employment drug screen.
• Must have a telephone at place of residence or a cell phone.

This agency allows out of state testing.
Multiple Scores from Same Applicant We only consider the most recent score    
Request/ Access Scores Every June and December    

Current Hiring Status

The eligibility register will be valid for six (6) months. This recruitment process will create a Civil Service eligibility register that will be used to fill vacancies should they occur.

Salary Information

$22.99/hr - What-Comm Dispatcher -in -training.
$24.38/hr - $29.09/hr - What-Comm Dispatcher (fully trained).

Benefit Information

The City’s excellent and comprehensive benefit program includes medical, dental and vision coverage for employees and their dependents, plus life insurance and long term disability for employees. The package includes generous paid leave provisions, including vacation, 12 holidays per year and sick leave. City employees participate in the Washington State Retirement System with joint contributions by the City and the employee. The City of Bellingham also offers an Employee Assistance Program, and employees have the option of participating in a Flexible Spending Plan for health care/dependent care reimbursement, as well as deferred compensation programs. Additional information about the benefits can be found in the What-Comm collective bargaining agreement at: https://www.cob.org/employment/Pages/labor-agreements-pay-schedule.aspx