911 Dispatch Position

Cowlitz 911 - Communications Officer/Dispatcher



The information herein is provided by the respective agency and is only as accurate and as up-to-date as the agency representative(s) update this information. PST is not responsible for the veracity of this data as it is provided directly from the agency. It is ultimately the applicant's responsibility to verify any information about the agency with the agency.

Cowlitz 911 - Communications Officer/Dispatcher

Last updated on June 23, 2023
PST Partner Agency since February 25, 2014

Vacancies: 2

Important Information

The Personal History Statement (PHS) is required and must be completed and uploaded into your Public Safety Testing account within 7 days following PST testing. If you fail to return the PHS within 7 days after PST testing, you may be disqualified and may not be asked to continue through the application process.  By submitting the PHS you agree to a preliminary background check which includes (but not limited to) a criminal history check and employment verification prior to moving forward in the process.      

Community Information

Cowlitz County is located 20 minutes north of Portland, Oregon adjacent to Interstate 5 and the Columbia River, within two hours of Pacific Coastal Beaches, skiing at Mt. Hood and Rainier. Many outdoor activities open year round include wind surfing, hang gliding, mountain climbing, hiking, surfing, fishing and hunting.

Department Information

Cowlitz 9-1-1 is building a new 911 Center and increasing staffing levels.  Cowlitz 9-1-1 is currently seeking qualified applicants to join our team of professional 9-1-1 Dispatchers.  Our agency receives and relays emergency and non-emergency requests for police, fire and medical services utilizing radio, telephone and computer equipment. Information is received and transmitted in a timely and accurate manner to emergency responders. The duties of the position, in addition to dispatching and coordinating emergency resources, include general clerical tasks to ensure adequate files of incident records are maintained. Dispatchers must calmly relay lifesaving emergency medical instructions to frantic or upset callers.  Dispatchers provide call receiving and dispatch services for five fire agencies, one private ambulance, and six police agencies.  Cowlitz 9-1-1  also provides some after hour answering and dispatch services for a variety of government departments. Staff work closely with cross county, state, and national Public Safety Professionals.

All employees are required to work days, nights, swing, graveyard, weekends, weekdays, and scheduled or short notice voluntary/mandatory overtime shifts.  

Job Description

Job Title: Public Safety Dispatcher

FLSA: Non-Exempt

Agency: Cowlitz 911 

Union Affiliated: Yes

Reports to: Cowlitz 911 Supervisor 

General Position Summary:

This position receives and relays emergency and non-emergency requests for police, fire and medical services utilizing radio, telephone and computer equipment. Information is received and transmitted in a timely and accurate manner. This position also performs general clerical tasks to ensure accurate complaint records and reporting requirements.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Receives, evaluates, relays and dispatches emergency and non-emergency calls for police, fire and medical services.

2. Inputs and transmits call information using computer terminal keyboard, dispatches appropriate agencies, or refers callers to appropriate service agencies.

3. Verifies and processes data as requested by field units/personnel.

4. Monitors alarm and video security systems.

5. Operates two-way radio equipment to dispatch calls and to receive and communicate information.

6. Utilizes computer terminal equipment to enter dispatch information, update unit status and retrieve various data records.

7. Notifies towing services, ambulance companies, investigators and other services as requested by user agencies.

8. Conducts file inquiries in regional, state and federal data banks to search for warrants, stolen property and driving records.

9. Contacts law enforcement agencies to confirm warrants, then notifies requesting officers of confirmation.

10. Prepares and regularly updates various logs, records and reports.

11. Assists field units in locating situation’s premises/addresses by referring to maps and other resource materials.

12. Provides Emergency Medical Dispatch instructions over the phone to the caller until medical personnel arrive.

13. Attend staff meetings/briefings. Contribute ideas to improve overall department efficiency.

14. Attend employer sponsored training as needed/assigned. May represent the department at conferences as assigned.

15. Performs other related duties or projects as assigned by the Supervisor.

16. Assist the department in addressing complaints. Must display integrity, honesty and accountability in their actions.

17. May require travel out of town and overnight trips for training, assigned meetings or seminars.

Minimum Qualifications:

1. High School diploma or equivalent. Provide proof or18 years of age or older, and citizenship. Knowledge and  ability to use personal computers. Experience or education in any one or combination of the following areas: customer service to the general public and diverse customers, data entry or transcription, law enforcement, security, medical services, rescue/safety, or any other related field.

2. Be a proficient typist. Pass a typing test (minimum of 35 wpm).

3. Must be or become (within training period) familiar with the policies and procedures used by the various agencies providing services to the 911 Center, the NCIC, the WACIC, Access, the Department of Licensing and Federal Communications Commission regulation.

4. Pass a full background check.

Required Skills and Abilities:

1. Skilled/develop the skills to give fast, clear and concise instructions and information to the caller and dispatched agency. Assist, control and calm callers, extract and process needed information to successfully assist the caller and dispatch the adequate help or agencies.

2. Interpersonal and customer service skills to courteously deal with the public and client agencies. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with co-workers, other county employees, client agencies, and other law enforcement entities.

3. Effectively handle a multi-task and fast paced work environment. Be detail oriented and maintain tasks organized even with frequent interruptions and distractions.

4. Initiative to take action and be self-motivated within prescribed policies/procedures. Work well independently, as well as in a team setting.

5. Communicate in a professional business-like manner, both orally and in writing. Portray a professional image and attitude.

6. Proficient and accurate in data entry into computer information system.

7. Maintain strict confidentiality of restricted or private information and effectively handle sensitive matters.

8. Effectively manage stressful situations/calls and the stress/emotion resulting after handling stressful/disturbing situations/calls.

Equipment or Tools:

1. Operate a personal computer, and radio effectively, and other electronic and communications equipment common to the trade.

2. Operate standard office equipment such as fax, copy machine, and multi-line phones.

Job Scope:

Level of Supervision Received: Minimum supervision expected after training, but may need more supervision for special projects. Must provide status reports to management of incidents or situations.

Level of Supervisory Responsibilities: This position is not supervisory in nature, but may assist provide technical assistance and guidance to new staff.

Contact/Communication with others: Extensive oral communications with the public over the phone and radio. Extensive typed contacts and communications will occur with individuals within the department, other County departments and client/servicing agencies. Frequent contacts with other local, state and federal agencies, law enforcement, fire departments, and the general public. Contacts are written, verbal, or electronic.

Decision Making Capacities: Requires fast-paced decision-making following policies and procedures and good common sense. Guidance or clearance should be requested for unusual situations, out-of-scope, and special tasks.

Working Conditions:

1. Able and willing to work hours that may exceed 8 hours/day or 40 hrs/week; work different shifts, weekends, and holidays. (2023 work schedule: 3 days of 12 hr shifts, 3 days off, 4 days of 12 hr shifts, 4 days off)

2. Handle stressed public and stressful situations, and be exposed to event related material that may be disturbing.

3. Observe, abide by, and set example, of all Cowlitz 911 policies, goals, and objectives.

4. Able to tolerate extended exposure to computers. Able to sit at a work station for long periods of time.

5. Must be able to work in secured facility, with restricted access and without windows.

Area Information

County: Cowlitz
Population: 103,000
# of Staff: 27

Hiring Status

Cowlitz 911 - Communications Officer/Dispatcher has 2 vacancies.

2 open positions.

Salary Information

Salary range $52,240 - $66,673 annually

Benefit Information

Full benefits package, medical, dental, orthodontia, life, vision, prescription and HSA options. Paid holidays;vacation;sick; employee assistance program, Washington State Department of Retirement (PERS). Voluntary benefits: flex spending, life and accident insurance, deferred compensation.

Work Schedule:  Annual shift selection by seniority, employees rotate days off each quarter to provide all employees an opportunity to enjoy weekends and weekdays off throughout the year. 

Work Schedule includes 24 hour operations, days, nights, weekends, holidays, voluntary and mandatory overtime, must be available for a variety of work hours, shifts, and work days throughout the year. 

Cowlitz 911 - Communications Officer/Dispatcher Requirements

Category Requirement Required at time of...
    Test Hire
Written Examination Yes, required
Typing Test Yes, required

The typing test is a critical component of your written test score and you are required to complete the online typing test within 90 days (before or after) your written exam. You will be allowed four (4) attempts at the typing test every seven (7) days and are responsible for selecting the score that you want PST to forward to the agencies you have applied with.

40 WPM; 90% Accuracy

Minimum Age 18 years old.
Citizenship Must be able to provide proof of citizenship or legally authorized to work in the U.S. during the background investigation.
High School Grad/ GED Must provide proof of high school diploma or GED during the background investigation.
Driver's License Required Must provide proof of a valid driver's license during the background investigation.
Felony Conviction(s) as an Adult
Felony Conviction(s) as a Juvenile
Ability to Read & Write the English Language Applicants must be fluent in English; they must clearly speak,write and read the English language.
Vision Requirements A final job offer will be made pending the applicant passing a vision screening.
Other Applicants will be required to successfully pass the following, an interview, criminal and personal background investigation, psychological exam, CVSA, pre-employment drug test,Critical Dispatch test, hearing and vision test by time of hire.

Applicants must sign an agreement they are willing and able to meet all conditions of employment, and agree to the terms of the supplemental self-evaluation questionnaire by time of hire, vision test by time of hire.

The Personal History Statement (PHS) is required and must be completed and uploaded into your Public Safety Testing account within 7 days after your test.
Multiple Scores from Same Applicant We consider all the scores from the same applicant
Request/Access Scores On an as-needed basis as vacancies occur
Dispatch Typing Test 35 WPM and 90% Accuracy

Cowlitz 911 - Communications Officer/Dispatcher Disqualifiers

The following are automatic and potential disqualifiers. Applicants should not apply to our agency if they indicate any of the automatic disqualifiers. Potential disqualifiers will be considered on a case by case basis.

Category Disqualifier
Automatic 1 or more traffic crime convictions in last 3 years (DWI, Suspended, Reckless, etc).
Automatic Suspension of driver's license within past 3 years.
Automatic 3 or more moving violations in past 3 years.
Automatic 2 or more at-fault accidents in past 3 years.
Drug Usage
Automatic Illegal use of ANY controlled substance while employed in a criminal justice capacity.
Automatic Illegal opiate use.
Automatic Hallucinogen use within past 7 years. No more than 3 uses total.
Potential Other drug use outside these standards will be considered on case by case basis.
Automatic No illegal sale of ANY drug, including marijuana.
Automatic Illegal use of dangerous drugs or narcotics, other than marijuana, for any purpose more than 6 times in lifetime, and no use within the past 7 years.
Automatic Any pattern of illegal narcotics, or prescription medication in the past seven years, or extensive use over a lifetime, including any distribution of a controlled substance.
Criminal Activity
Potential Adult misdemeanor convictions will be carefully reviewed.
Potential Juvenile felony conviction will be carefully reviewed.
Automatic Unlawful sexual misconduct.
Automatic 2 or more terminations, or leaving employer in lieu of termination.
Automatic Withdrawn from consideration for any (law enforcement/fire/corrections/dispatch) employment because of the following reasons: Dishonesty.
Automatic Been dishonorably discharged from the United States armed forces.
Automatic Lied during any stage of the hiring process.
Automatic Falsified his or her application, personal history questionnaire, or any other forms during hiring process.
Automatic Previous revocation or denial of (CJTC/POST) certified status, or suspension of current (CJTC/POST) certified status.
Automatic Failure to pay income tax or child support.

Contact Information

Cowlitz 911 - Communications Officer/Dispatcher

312 SW 1st Ave
Kelso, WA 98626 Cowlitz County


Agency Test Requirements
Written Examination: Yes, required
Typing Test: Yes, required