Police Communications

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Phoenix Police Communications Operator

$18.58-$28.57 hourly / annualized $38,646-$59,426

Phoenix Police Communications Operator - Lateral

$19.49-$28.57 hourly / annualized $40,539-$59,426


ATTENTION: The Phoenix Police Communications Operator testing process has changed.

Hiring Process

STEP 1:  Apply online at www.phoenix.gov/employment

Complete the required information. Respond to the series of questions located on the online application. Only online applications are accepted for this position.

The results of the application and pre-screening process will be sent to your primary email address.

If eligible for the position, you will be contacted to move on in the next step of the process.

STEP 2:  Typing Test from Dictation

The typing test is administered in house at the Communications Bureau located at 100 E. Elwood St. Phoenix, AZ 85040.

Applicants will be wearing head phones, listening to a computerized female voice and typing what she tells them to type. There is a total of 3 tests. The first test is for practice to get familiar with the program. The last two tests will count for a score.

An adjusted score of 40 WPM or higher is a passing score.

STEP 3:  Computer Simulated Test – CritiCall

CritiCall is computerized simulator software that test the applicant's skills and abilities in data entry and multi-tasking. Applicants will wear headphones and be tested on areas such as

  • Multitasking
  • Prioritization
  • Map reading
  • Memory recall
  • Comprehension
  • Probability
  • Data Entry
  • Decision-making 

The test takes about an hour and a half to complete.

STEP 4: Panel Interview

STEP 5: Background Process

  • Background Questionnaire Investigation and Interview
  • Polygraph Examination: Applicants will be given a polygraph examination (lie detector test) administered by a trained, professional examiner. The test will confirm information noted on the applicant's background investigation packet.
  • Note: Process takes 4 to 8 weeks from time questionnaire is turned in

Step 6: Controlled Substance Screening

  • Applicants will be required to submit to a urinalysis at some point in the hiring process

Please consider the following general disqualifiers before applying for the position:

Felonies: Conviction of job-related felonies

Misdemeanors: Conviction of job-related misdemeanor within the last 3 years.

Drug Use: Illegal marijuana use occurring within the last 3 years

Other Illegal drug use occurring within the last 5 years

Financial: Job-related negative financial history occurring within the last 5 years

Driving: Job-related negative driving history occurring within the last 5 years

This is not an all-inclusive list. Exceptions may apply and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

To learn more visit:

Lateral Hires

  • One year of continuous full-time experience as a Police 911 Call Taker and/or Police Radio Dispatcher after completing probation.
  • Applicants cannot have been separated from a law enforcement agency for more than 12 months at the time of application.
  • To apply visit https://www.phoenix.gov/employment to see if you qualify for the "Police Communications Operator-Lateral" job listing and follow the instructions to submit your application.
  • Higher levels of starting pay depending on experience and other factors.

Minimum Requirements

  • Minimum 1 year of public contact, customer service and/or clerical work
  • Ability to accurately type a minimum of 40wpm (net) from dictation
  • Computer knowledge using Windows based programs
  • Ability to spell accurately
  • Ability to sit or stand while on the telephone and using multiple computer monitors for 8-12 hours per day
  • Ability to multi-task using the telephone and radio
  • Ability to react under time-sensitive, stressful and critical situations
  • Ability to accurately follow directions in a fast-paced environment
  • Work nights, weekends, holidays

Compensation and Benefits

  • $38,646 to $59,426 annual ($18.58 to $28.57/hour)
  • Fully Paid Training
  • Night Shift Differential Pay
  • Medical and Dental Coverage
  • Life Insurance
  • City of Phoenix Retirement Plan
  • Deferred Compensation
  • Vacation and Sick Leave
  • Holiday Pay
  • Tuition Reimbursement $6,500 per Fiscal year
  • Military Leave Time
headset and mouse

Phoenix Police Communications Bureau Overview

The Phoenix Police Communications Bureau is comprised of over 270 civilian employees that work out of two separate 24/7 telecommunications centers. The original center is housed at Phoenix Police Headquarters, located at 620 W. Washington Street, while the second center shares a building with the Property Management Bureau at 100 E. Elwood Street.

In the year 2016, the Phoenix Police Communications Bureau answered over 2.3 million incoming calls, which averages out to just below 6,400 calls per day. The centers answer emergency calls for service on 9-1-1 lines, as well as calls on the City of Phoenix Non-Emergency line, called Crime Stop, at (602) 262-6151.

Phoenix Police Communications Operators are assigned to one of two functions each day: answering calls or dispatching officers. During an eight to ten hour shift of processing calls, a Communications Operator will potentially answer on average anywhere between 110-150 calls in total between the 9-1-1 and Crime Stop lines. If a caller needs assistance with a fire or medical emergency, the call is transferred to the Phoenix Fire Regional Communications Center. If the call requires a police response, the Communications Operator asks the necessary questions and enters a call for service.

Once a call for police service is entered, the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system routes the call to another Communications Operator who is working as a dispatcher. What this means is when you call 9-1-1 or Crime Stop, the Communications Operator you speak with is not the person dispatching your call, and they are not the person physically responding to your call; this is why answering the call taker's questions does not delay an officer's response time.

Each of the city's seven precincts is assigned a dispatcher, who is in constant communication with the officers in a designated area of the city. The dispatchers for these precincts are responsible for sending calls for service out to available officers and maintaining an accurate status of where officers are at all times. In addition to the precinct dispatchers, there are dispatchers available to handle emergency incidents, information requests from officers, and any additional radio traffic as situations require it.

Communications Bureau sign

Training Process

Communications Operators are in training for the first eight months of employment. Initially, employees will learn to be a call taker which will involve 480 hours of training.  The classroom instruction has testing throughout and the requirement for employees to memorize important material directly related to the Police Communications Operator job duties.  After the classroom setting, the employee moves into on the job training that could potentially take place on all three shifts. Daily, weekly and monthly performance evaluations will be required during the on the job training.

Communications Operators who successfully complete call taker training will then be required to enter into radio dispatch training. This also entails classroom instruction and on the job training, which is approximately 840 hours. This on the job training will require monitored and continuous use of the call taking skills already learned, as well as radio dispatch training.  Upon successful completion of the training process, employees will be fully cross-trained in the required two main job functions: as a Call Taker answering 9-1-1 / Crime Stop calls, and as a Radio Dispatcher. Employees are then assigned to a permanent position most likely on 2nd or 3rd shift, with the likelihood of working nights, weekends, and holidays as a solo Police Communications Operator.

911 call center workers

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I call 9-1-1?
9-1-1 should be used to report: life threatening emergencies, crimes in progress, medical issues, fires, or any situation where there is a potential for violence.

What if I call 9-1-1 for something that is not an emergency?
You will be provided with the City of Phoenix non-emergency phone number, Crime Stop, which is (602) 262-6151. 

When should I call Crime Stop?
Crime Stop can be used whenever you need to speak to the Phoenix Police about a non-emergency. Some examples include reporting a property crime not in progress, calling about an abandoned vehicle, or general information calls.

Why do I have to give my location when calling? Don't you know where I am?
Providing the address when you call 9-1-1 is the single most important piece of information you can provide to us. The vast majority of our calls are received from wireless phones, and depending on the GPS technology in the phone, this only provides the approximate location of the caller. We will always ask you for your exact location, as this is vital to sending you help.

Why does the operator keep asking me questions? If they just sent the police, they would find out all they need to know.
Answering the Communications Operator's questions does not delay police response in any way. While you are answering these questions when reporting an emergency, the information is being sent to a dispatcher who is updating the officers as they respond to you. Situations change quickly in the time it takes for an officer to respond, and the chances of apprehending a suspect or stopping a violent act in progress are greatly increased when you provide the information the operator is asking for.

Can a disconnected cell phone call 911?
Yes! Disconnected cell phones that are charged are still able to dial 9-1-1. If you do not pay for cell phone service, but have an old phone, you can keep it with you in case you need to use it to report an emergency situation on 9-1-1. Please keep this information in mind when giving your old phone to a child to play with, as we receive many calls from children playing on disconnected cell phones, and these calls take time away from answering real emergency calls.

What should I do if I call 9-1-1 by mistake?
Simply stay on the phone and tell the Communications Operator you dialed by mistake. When you dial 9-1-1 and immediately hang up, your call still comes through as a built in safety feature of the emergency system. This causes the operator to have to call back, delaying the response to valid emergencies.

When I call 9-1-1, why do I get someone different every time?
Depending on the time of day you call, there may be up to 30 different Communications Operators answering calls. When you call more than once about a situation, please keep this in mind, as there is a very good chance you will be speaking to a different operator the second time around. This operator will need to ask you about your situation again, as they need to make sure the call is handled appropriately.

Are Communications Operators also Police Officers?
No, Communications Operators are civilian employees. You will not speak to a Police Officer when calling 9-1-1 or Crime Stop.