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Employment · Communications Career

The Communications Division of the Washington State Patrol is the vital link between calls for assistance and emergency response by initiating courteous and timely action around the clock.

What we Do:


A Communications Officer's Mission and Responsibility

  • Receive, relay, and dispatch emergency calls for service.
  • Dispatch services provided to line troopers and other state agencies.
  • Provide assistance to the public via telephone or in person.
  • Answer emergency 9-1-1 calls.
  • Utilize computer-aided dispatch (CAD).
  • Work with other law enforcement agencies and communications centers.

Job Requirements


Minimum Requirements:

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Previous dispatch experience.
  • Computer skills and/or experience in computerized dispatching.
  • Customer service experience and professional telephone skills.

Background

All Washington State Patrol applicants are subject to background investigations, including a polygraph examination, because of the nature of the work and the security requirements.

  • See the Hiring Standards page for personal background forms, hiring standards, and minimum requirements.

    When a polygraph is offered to an applicant, they must bring with them a certified copy of their driving record from the Department of Licensing to the polygraph appointment.

  • See the Personal Background EvaluationAdobe PDF Document form for more information about the background evaluation.

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Testing and Applying


When a communications officer job is open, it will be listed in our Current Job Openings section and linked to the job announcement. All requirements and details for applying will be included in the announcement.

Applying:

The application process is now available online by going to the Washington State Careers web site.

To talk to a recruiter at Headquarters, call 1-800-888-8384 or (360) 704-2300. Recruiters for communications officers and troopers are also available statewide.

You may prefer writing to us at jobs@wsp.wa.gov or

Washington State Patrol
General Administration Building
Human Resource Division
210 11th Avenue SE, Suite G-12
PO Box 42620
Olympia, WA 98504-2620

Testing:

A candidate must successfully complete each level of the testing sequence below before moving to the next. Additional tests will also be cited on each job announcement.

Step 1

Is a skills and abilities examination designed to evaluate an applicant's potential to be successful as a communications officer. (You may wish to review the profile and self-assessment for communications officers.)

Step 2

Is an oral interview that requires the applicant to formulate responses to questions concerning general knowledge, experience, and abilities.

Step 3
  • Pre-Employment polygraph examination
  • Background Investigation

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Training and Assignments


Training:

A communications officer is primarily trained on the job with a lead worker in the local communications center. The training includes:

  • Orientation training
  • Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)
  • Call processing
  • Radio procedures
  • Area familiarization and ride alongs
  • ACCESS certification

Additional training is conducted at the Washington State Patrol Academy in Shelton.

Assignments:

There are eight WSP communications centers located at each district headquarters, which have available positions for communications officers who are eligible to transfer after one year of service.

Salaries, Benefits, and rank Structure


Salaries:

Communications officers are promoted to Communications Officer 1 position after successfully completing their one-year training and probationary period.

  • Communications Officer - $2,716 to $3,509
  • Communications Officer 1 - $2,843 to 3,682
  • Communications Officer Assistant - $2,426 to $3,135

Benefits:

  • Complete set of work uniforms furnished by the department.
  • Retirement plan.
  • Life insurance and medical, dental, and hospitalization programs subsidized by the state.
  • Annual vacation leave accrued at one day a month, increasing with longevity.
  • Sick leave accrued at one day a month.

Rank Structure:

An excellent career path is also available for those who wish to become involved in training and management:

  • Communications Officer Assistant
    (Call Taker)
  • Communications Officer
    (Dispatcher)
  • Communications Officer 1
    (Dispatcher with one year of experience)
  • Communications Officer 2
    (Lead Operator, Trainer)
  • Communications Officer 3
    (Shift Supervisor, Training Officer)
  • Communications Officer 4
    (Center Manager, Training/Recruiting Coordinator)
  • Communications Division Assistant Administrator
  • Communications Division Administrator

 


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Communications Officers