Communications Specialist

Cottonwood Police Department - , Arizona

Aug 4, 2022

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Application Deadline:
Sep 30, 2022

Salary Information

Entry Level:
$$20.37 - $25.47 hourly
Top Pay:
$$30.58 hourly

Job Description

Communications Specialists, commonly referred to as 9-1-1 dispatchers or police/fire/ems dispatchers, are essentially first responders in an emergency situation, having the first communication with the public in an incident. The position of Communications Specialist is a challenging and rewarding position requiring an individual with a unique attitude and aptitude for the profession. The position offers the employee an opportunity to contribute to the public safety and are responsible for the health and well-being of the community and the entire Verde Valley. It is common for an applicant to focus solely on the positive potential contributions that can be made while in this position. It is extremely important the applicant is aware of all aspects of the position to be successful within a 24 hour operation. Some aspects of this position may not be necessarily desirable including unusual hours such as nights, weekends, and holidays are often required. If you personally enjoy a fast paced, ever changing career, please review the following job description and working environment description carefully prior to testing for this position. This is a rewarding career with opportunity for continued self-growth and professional advancement. **++VA beneficiaries may utilize their GI Bill® benefits while++ ++pursuing++ on the job training portion of this position.

This is a Non-Sworn, Non-exempt, classified, Full-time positions with full benefits. Expected hiring range is minimum of range 20; Hiring range:$20.38 per hour - $25.47 per hour. Full long term range of position is $20.38 per hour - $30.58 per hour. – Actual salary DOE.

++Working Environment:++

  • Must be able to work various shift hours such as 8, 10, or 12 hour shifts. Shifts consisting of day, swing, or night shift, weekends and holidays.
  • Communications Specialists are eligible for, and expected to work overtime to meet the staffing needs of the organization.
  • Working conditions of the communications center are demanding with exposures to stressful situations, including irregular and unpredictable hours, moderate to loud noise level, distractions from concurrently working events while multitasking on multiple required systems.

Communications Specialist - lateral hires

Applicants must meet minimum requirements (see Job Description below) and receive an invitation/appointment to take the computerized skills test.

Selection Process:


++The application and hiring process to fill the position is a competitive process that is typically completed with 30 to 60 days, dependent upon several factors listed below. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis until all vacant positions are filled. Monthly testing will be scheduled and completed for any eligible candidates allowing for the opportunity to fill any vacancies or for the development of an eligibility list. All applications received will be evaluated. Once the application has been screened for minimum qualifications, the applicant will be contacted via email and invited to take an online skills test. Applicants passing the skills assessment will be invited to participate in a two-hour center communications center observation. The applicant’s demonstration of job interest, professionalism, and suitability will be evaluated during the observation. Applicants passing the observation will be scheduled for an oral board interview.++

COVID-19 Precautions: Applicants are required to wear a mask and submit to temperature screening prior to entry to the Police Department or Communications Center. Applicants experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, who are awaiting COVID-19 test results, or have been recently exposed to COVID-19 will be required to reschedule any of the in-person steps of the hiring process.

++Computerized Skills Test++

Applicants meeting minimum requirements will be invited via email to take the online Criticall™ skills test. Criticall™ evaluates the applicant’s data entry abilities by assessing keyboarding speed and accuracy; ability to correctly apply information to appropriate fields; ability to multi-task; ability to prioritize emergency and non-emergency calls for service; follow complex written or audible directions, and answer questions that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to learn and apply information, reading comprehension, ability to use situational judgment, and reasoning ability.

Communications Center Operations Observation

Applicants successfully passing the computerized skills assessment test will be invited to complete a 2 hour communications center operations observation. Demonstration of job interest, professionalism, and suitability will be evaluated. All applicants entering the Communications Center are required to provide photo ID and submit to a wants/warrants check.

++Oral Board Interview++

Following the communications center operations observation, the applicant will be scheduled for an oral board interview. The applicant will be interviewed by a panel of department employees and answer a series of questions related to work ethic, character, and integrity. Applicants will have a maximum of 30 minutes to answer interview questions. Applicants successfully passing the oral board interview will be provided an AZPOST Statement of Personal History and Application for Certification form, the Cottonwood Police Department Background Questionnaire, and Pre-Polygraph Questionnaire. Applicants are required to return their completed background packets within 7 days to ensure timely processing.

Background and Polygraph (or Voice Stress Test)

Cottonwood Police Department holds its employees to the highest standards. Communications Specialist applicants are required to submit to a background and polygraph test (or voice stress test) consistent with the standards established for sworn officers by the AZPOST. Applicants must answer questions truthfully regarding drug use, criminal history, and driving history. Applicants are encouraged to review the background application online at

Official Job Description

Under close to general supervision, provides a link between citizens in need of assistance with police, fire and EMS services; prioritizes calls; coordinates and logs the activities associated with providing such service; dispatches appropriate emergency personnel; accesses and provides information transfer to and from field units where telephone or an ACJIS terminal is required; provides emergency communications in the form of 9-1-1 services to the City of Cottonwood and surrounding communities; enters and maintains warrants; and performs related duties as assigned.


Essential functions, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act, may include the following tasks, knowledge, skills and other characteristics. This list is ILLUSTRATIVE ONLY, and is not a comprehensive listing of all functions and tasks performed by incumbents of this classification.


Complete and maintain the required police, fire, and EMS certifications; perform records inquiries (e.g. registration, driver’s license, drivers history, wanted persons, stolen property, etc.); provide criminal history information from the Arizona Criminal History systems in either automated or hard copy format; provide national crime history and logs data (e.g. FBI number print of criminal history, etc.); enter records and warrants into manual and automated systems.

Perform duties of Public Safety Answering Point/911 call taker; process public safety phone and radio calls for the Cottonwood police and fire departments and other contracting agencies; verify address, jurisdiction, and phone number; while receiving call information, must enter information into CAD system and quickly prioritize and assign calls for service; update unit activities; answer emergency and non-emergency phone calls; communicate, track and monitor the status, location, and availability of police, fire and EMS units.

Transfer calls to appropriate disciplines; release call times to appropriate officers and fire/EMS personnel; gather calls for service information; provide pre-arrival instructions to callers; route calls to proper jurisdiction; process call outs for dispatch purposes (i.e. wrecker call outs); process telephone requests for ambulance or medical services; re-contact hang-ups to ensure no emergency existed; take telephone messages for department employees; perform duties in accordance with departmental policies and procedures under the direct supervision of a Communications Supervisor or designee.

Upon completion of the required police, fire, and EMS certification and probation, and under general direction, may serve as a primary trainer for new or returning dispatchers and evaluate their performance; teach new dispatchers the policies, procedures and job tasks associated with the Communications Specialist classification while fulfilling all duties associated with the Communications Specialist position; oversee operations of the Communications Division in the absence of the Communications Supervisor; provide leadership and supervision in the absence of the supervisor; may be responsible for work schedule, scheduling of overtime, comp time, sick leave, vacation leave, etc.; alter work schedules and call employees back to duty as required; and perform other duties as assigned.


Knowledge of the policies and procedures of the Cottonwood communications division.

Knowledge of the principles and practices of the Arizona Criminal Justice Information System (ACJIS).

Knowledge of the principles and operations of electronic data processing.

Knowledge of the Spillman System (aka Motorola Flex) computer software.

Knowledge of the code system used by Cottonwood Police/Fire Departments and contracting agencies.

Knowledge of current practices, methods, and techniques used in emergency dispatching.

Knowledge of customer service.

Skill in developing and maintaining effective interpersonal relations.

Skill in maintaining a calm demeanor during crisis situations.

Skill in analyzing data and drawing valid conclusions.

Skill in maintaining manual and automated records while handling emergency situations.

Skill in maintaining currency on current practices, methods, and techniques used in emergency dispatching.

Ability to make quick decisions.

Ability to work under extreme pressure, exercise good judgment and make sound decisions during emergency situations.

Ability to interpret a variety of instructions, both orally and written.

Ability to maintain regular attendance and punctuality.

Ability to obtain CPR and EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) certifications.

Ability to obtain EPD (Emergency Police Dispatch) certification.

Ability to obtain EFD (Emergency Fire Dispatch) certification.


Must be able to sit or stand for extended periods of time; must be able to multi-task such as typing while answering phones; must be able to visually observe and interpret data displayed on multiple dispatch computer monitors comprised of several windows per monitor; required to reach with hands and arms; must be able to hear radio and telephone conversations at an appropriate level so as to not cause radio interference; must possess the ability to communicate clearly when speaking.


1.) Must be a citizen of United States or legal to work in United States.

2.) Must have at least one (1) year of customer service related work experience.

3.) Must have high school diploma or equivalent.

4.) Must be 18 years of age or older.

5.) Must meet Physical Requirements.

6.) Must read and sign job description acknowledgement.

**GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Additional Information

Job Advertisement

With an elevation of 3,300 feet, Cottonwood is a small but growing community situated in the heart of the Verde Valley, which is located 90 miles north of Phoenix and 50 miles south of Flagstaff, at the base of Mingus Mountain. We have convenient shopping, hotels, restaurants, and a picturesque Historic Old Town, bustling with activity. Visit the local vineyards and tasting rooms, ancient Indian ruins, historic parks, landmarks, and ghost towns. Explore the hiking trails, golf at our scenic courses, or kayak down the beautiful Verde River. Enjoy the perfect balance of job satisfaction and phenomenal quality of life the area has to offer!

Job Requirements

  • Age: 18 years or older
  • Education: high school diploma or equivalent
  • Experience: at least one year of customer service related work experience

Contact Information

Emily Carter

Cottonwood Police Department
, Arizona
phone: 1 928 340 2717

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