The Austin Police Department Emergency Communications Division encourages all qualified men and women to apply with one of the top law enforcement agencies in the nation. Our step-by-step hiring process aims to be competitive therefore allowing us to select the top candidates for our 911 call taker and police dispatcher positions.
The following information will explain the hiring process and may give an estimate of the hiring time frame. Several factors determine how quickly an applicant will progress through the process including the overall number of applicants and number of positions available. The hiring coordinator will inform each applicant of the next step as they proceed through the process. Applicants should also be prepared to bring the following documents when directed by the hiring coordinator:
- Government Issued Identification
- Copy of Birth Certificate/Passport/Naturalization Paperwork
- Copy of High School Diploma or GED
- Copy of DD214 Report of Separation (for applicants who served in the U.S. military)
An online application must be submitted through the City of Austin career website to begin the hiring process.
- The application can be found at: https://www.austincityjobs.org/postings/search Search Keywords: Call Taker or Dispatcher
- Read each portion of the job posting carefully paying close attention to the following sections: Minimum Qualifications, Notes to Applicants, and Preferred Qualifications.
- The application must be filled out completely. (Do not leave any blanks.)
- Attach the required resume to the application. (Note: The employment dates on the resume must match the dates on the application.) The cover letter is optional.
You will receive a confirmation email from the City of Austin Human Resources Department once your application has been submitted.
Initial Background Check
After applications are carefully reviewed prospective candidates will be notified via email. If notified you will be required to fill out and return a City of Austin Personal History form to support your initial background check. The Hiring Background Investigator will review your Computerized Criminal History, check for outstanding warrants, and investigate involvement with local law enforcement. Disqualifying events include but are not limited to Felony Convictions, certain Class A and B misdemeanors, and repeated or serious incidents that demonstrates unsuitability for employment as a police emergency telecommunicator.
APD Emergency Communications uses Criticall Pre-Employment Testing software to assess all potential emergency telecommunicator candidates. The software closely simulates the computerized technology of modern 911 call centers and measures job-related skills necessary for success in an emergency services environment including but not limited to: data entry, typing speed, memory recall and reading comprehension.
To proceed to the next step, applicants must score a minimum of 80% with a typing speed of 40 wpm for call taker candidates and 45 wpm for dispatcher candidates. You will be notified of your score prior to leaving the testing site. Candidates who do not meet the minimum scores must wait six (6) months before reapplying.
After the testing phase, the top candidates will be scheduled for an interview in front of a panel. The interview will include a 30-minute observation period with a current employee. The panel interview will be conducted by members of the supervisory team and will last approximately one (1) hour. Each candidate will be asked the same 10 questions to include hypothetical situations that assess the skills, abilities, and other personal characteristics necessary for successful performance as an entry-level emergency telecommunicator. The responses will be reviewed and rated by the panel and candidates with the top scores will be notified about proceeding to the next step in the process.
Prospective candidates will be given instructions to report to a medical facility to undergo drug screening. The screening consists of a collection of bodily fluids and hair samples that will be analyzed in an effort to detect the use of illegal drugs. Drug testing will be done at St. David’s Hospital in Austin. Candidates who fail the drug screening will be permanently disqualified from employment with our division.
Psychological Assessment and Interview
The first portion of the psychological assessment involves completing the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). The MMPI is a written psychological test designed to measure a variety of personality and psychological factors related to police work. Applicants will spend 2 to 3 hours completing this questionnaire. The results will be reviewed during a psychological interview with a licensed psychologist at a later date. The psychologist will determine if the candidate meets the mental and emotional fitness to function as an emergency telecommunicator.
Background Investigation and Reference Check
All candidates in the final stages of the hiring process will undergo a state agency mandated background investigation. Each candidate must complete a Background History Statement and provide six (6) references. Candidates are expected to assist in ensuring their references respond to the Hiring Background Investigator. In addition, the background investigator will summarize in a written report: 1) the candidate’s employment and educational history; 2) the candidate’s results for hiring process events; 3) input from references, including independent references not provided by the applicant; and 4) police records from other law enforcement and governmental agencies. The background investigator then makes a recommendation regarding suitability for the job and hiring of the candidate.
Conditional Offer of Employment and FBI Fingerprint Check
After all steps have been successfully completed in the hiring process, candidates will be fingerprinted for a final background check. Any offer of employment is contingent pending the results of this final fingerprint check.