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Emergency Communications- Call Taker

Company: Santa Barbara County, CA
Location: Santa Barbara
Posted on: June 6, 2021

Job Description:


For more information about the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office,

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We are accepting applications to fill current and future vacancies in Santa Barbara with the Sheriff's Office.


Under direct supervision, answers calls received in the ECC, determines the emergency or non-emergency nature of the call and routes it to the appropriate communications dispatcher or provides the appropriate assistance; performs related duties as required.

This Call Taker position is distinguished from the Communications Dispatcher I job class in that the Call Taker does not dispatch any appropriate routine or emergency personnel or equipment via radio or other electronic communications equipment, nor is this an on-the-job training job class where the incumbent is expected to move to the position of Communications Dispatcher after completion of their on-the-job training.

Work Environment:

The Dispatch Center is a countywide answering point for the 9-1-1 emergency telephone system. Public safety agencies that directly use the Dispatch Center are the County Sheriff's Office, the County Fire Department, the County Contract ambulance company, local cities, and federal agencies. The Dispatch Center is a 24-hour / 365-day facility and is administered by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

The Dispatch Center receives approximately 160 calls daily for service on the 9-1-1 emergency system. In addition to 9-1-1 calls, the center answers approximately 840 calls daily on many other emergency lines. This equals approximately 324,000 calls per year; staff includes 24 Dispatchers, 5 Call Takers, 6 Dispatch Supervisors, a civilian Operations Manager and a Sheriff's Commander. As a new Dispatch Call Taker, you will have the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge and experience.

A Dispatch Call Taker plays a vital role in the delivery of public safety and functions as a nexus between the community, law enforcement and allied agencies, and public safety field personnel. Their role is largely one of information processing - obtaining, evaluating, and disseminating information regarding crimes, emergencies, and requests for public safety services - information that is often critical to the safety of both the public and law enforcement personnel. The conditions under which this role is carried out are often quite demanding with respect to both cognitive and non-cognitive skills and qualities.

Memorization: Remembering the details of a recent incident or related incidents; remembering procedures for handling various types of complaints and incidents; remembering various codes and abbreviations (e.g. radio, legal); and remembering geographical boundaries and significant common locations.

Speed of closure: Evaluating initial information and quickly determining whether an incident is an emergency; and taking several calls reporting different parts of the same incident and quickly combining the information to gain an overall picture of what happened.

Perceptual Speed: Quickly comparing and verifying names, locations and descriptions received by telephone, or in written form (e.g. checking a detainee's description against a wanted list or data base inquiry); and quickly comparing incident information to determine if different calls are related.

Selective Attention: Taking calls within a noisy, distracting work environment (e.g. taking a complaint from a citizen while other phone lines are ringing, other dispatchers are receiving emergency calls, teletype messages are printing).

Multi-tasking: Handling multiple calls for assistance at the same time; taking a complaint while monitoring teletypes.

Using Resources & Equipment: Uses appropriate automated data bases (e.g. vehicle, criminal history, driver's license, wants and warrants, stolen property, gun, and various specialized data bases) and reference material (codes, wanted lists, directories, manuals, etc.) to obtain or accurately update information. Uses telephone system and related equipment, and/or computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system properly when receiving calls for service.

Training can last anywhere from 3- 6 months, depending on many factors including the rate at which the new employee learns and retains information. Classroom instruction, practical application in the form of on-the-job-training, field trips, projects, tests, and self-study methods are all used in order to facilitate the new employee's learning process. Throughout the Training Program, both the Dispatch Training Officer and the Trainee are expected to maintain a daily log of activities documenting concepts presented successes and achievements for each day, and areas in need of improvement. During the probationary period, the new employee will also receive quarterly evaluations as required by the Department and the County.

Ideal Candidate possess:

  • Ability to communicate effectively in potentially high stress intervals
  • A reputation for honesty and trustworthiness
  • Good moral character
  • Credibility
  • Integrity
  • Dependability
  • Good judgment under pressure


  • An adult felony conviction in California, or with a conviction for an offense in another state which would be classified as a felony in California
  • Currently on Probation or Parole
  • Adult felony and/or misdemeanor conviction(s) may be disqualifying depending on type, number, severity, and how recent
  • Conviction of/or sustained petitions for any sex crime
  • Recent drug use; failure to reveal prior use will be disqualifying
  • Unfavorable work history
  • History of committing domestic violence
  • Any use or possession of marijuana within one year prior to application for employment

Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) and California POST Selection Standards:

Since POST standards adhere to both state and federal laws, the possession and/or sale of marijuana remains prohibited by federal law under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Therefore any candidate who uses / possesses and/or the sale of marijuana within the last year will result in disqualification.

Examples of Duties

  • Answering all incoming ECC telephone calls via a Computer Aided Dispatching System (CAD).
  • Collecting all pertinent information from the caller and record details of calls, dispatches, and messages.
  • Properly assess calls to determine whether they are of an emergency or non-emergency nature.
  • Routing the call to the appropriate Communications Dispatcher or other agency.
  • Provide Emergency Medical Dispatching as defined by the EMD protocol for the level to which they are trained.
  • Entering all call information into the CAD system.
  • Utilizing CLETS to determine and confirm information enter information and remove information.
  • Performs clerical, filing and routine recordkeeping duties as required.
  • Could be expected to testify in court.

Employment Standards

  • Possession of a high school diploma or GED; AND
  • One year of experience working in a setting that included direct public contact via the use of telephone or call-center type work; OR,
  • A combination of training, education, and experience that is equivalent to the employment standard listed above and that provides the required knowledge and abilities.

Knowledge of: English language; professional customer service; operation of multi-line telephone handset; data-entry using software; computer systems utilization.

Ability to: observe, receive, and otherwise obtain information from all relevant sources; analyze information, evaluate results, and to choose the best solution; solve problems; learn Federal, State, and local laws, and also local agency policies and procedures, terminology, jurisdictional boundaries, and available types of emergency services; to read maps and provide directions; clearly speak and communicate effectively over the telephone; remain calm in stressful situations; perform multiple tasks simultaneously; learn use of multiple computer and telephone systems.

Additional Requirements:

  • Incumbents must be able to type 35 wpm;
  • Work rotating 10-hour shifts;
  • Successfully complete the Post-Certified Basic Complaint/Dispatcher course during the one-year probationary period.
  • Appointee must satisfactorily complete a probationary period.

Desirable Qualifications: multilingual in languages spoken in the County such as Spanish, Mixtec, Hmong or others relevant languages. Supplemental Information


  • Review applications and supplemental questionnaire to determine those applicants who meet the employment standards.
  • Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ): Qualified candidates will be notified by email to complete a Personal History Questionnaire. Upon passing your PHQ, you will advance to the CritiCall exam.
  • CritiCall Computerized Exam: Candidates will be invited by email to the CritiCall exam. The CritiCall exam is a computerized software testing program that tests job-related skills and multi-tasking abilities required in the complex dispatching environment. Candidates must be present to take the exam in person at the Emergency Dispatch Center in Santa Barbara.

Candidates must receive a percentage score of at least 70 on the Criticall exam to be placed on an employment list. An adjustment may be made to raw scores based on factors listed in Civil Service Rule VI. Those candidates who are successful in the selection process will have their names placed on the employment list for a minimum of three months. At the time the employment list is established, all candidates will receive an email notice of their score on the exam(s), rank on the employment list, and exact duration of the employment list. Human Resources will notify you by mail if your name is removed.

Recruiters will communicate with applicants by e-mail during each step in the recruitment process. Applicants are reminded to check spam filters continuously during the Recruitment & Selection Process steps listed above to ensure they do not miss required deadlines.

REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS: The County of Santa Barbara is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to applicants. Qualified individuals with disabilities who need a reasonable accommodation during the application or selection process should contact the recruiter listed on the job posting. We require verification of needed accommodation from a professional source, such as a Medical Provider or a learning institution.

BENEFITS: For more information on County benefits, please visit here CLICK HERE In addition, applicants from other public sector employers may qualify for:

  • Retirement reciprocity
  • Time and service credit towards an advanced vacation accrual rate

Statement of Commitment

The County of Santa Barbara is dedicated to cultivating and sustaining an environment that exhibits equity and inclusion everywhere, and at all levels of our organization. The County believes equity is a fundamental principle that must be imbedded in policies, institutional practices and systems. The County recognizes the negative impacts of systemic racism and is committed to eliminating the barriers affecting our Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian community members, as well as people of other diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. We envision a world where society and its systems (e.g. education, criminal justice, and health care, housing the economy) are just, fair, and inclusive, enabling all people to participate and reach their full potential.

We celebrate community and employee diversity, strive for inclusion and belonging, and promote empowered participation. We aspire to build a workforce that is reflective of these values and the communities we serve. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and will resolutely uphold federal, California state law and/or Santa Barbara County ordinances.

We believe equity and inclusion are vital to fulfill the County's mission and to embody a culture of "One County, One Future." Expanding the full range of employee talent allows the County to deliver our best to all our community members.

We believe in the dignity and humanity of all people. We strive for a healthy and prosperous society that promotes all people having equitable access and opportunity.


The Sheriff's Office conducts a polygraph examination and in-depth background investigation. If you feel your past may hinder your future from working for the Sheriff's Office, please contact Human Resources at (805) 681-4270, for assistance on determining your employment eligibility.

Appointee must successfully pass the following:

Polygraph Examination will measure the accuracy of information disclosed during the background investigation process.

Background Investigation includes an interview and in-depth background investigation of police records, personal and virtual character check, military, and employment histories; inquiry of persons who know you and evaluate whether you respect the law and rights of others; are dependable and responsible; have demonstrated mature judgment in areas such as the use of drugs and intoxicants; are honest; and is a safe driver.

The following shall commence upon accepting a conditional offer of employment:

  1. Psychological Examination is given by a licensed psychologist. You will be evaluated on the psychological factors related to successful performance to determine if you are presently suited for the difficult and stressful job of a dispatcher and to otherwise ensure that the candidate is capable of withstanding the psychological demands of the position.

  2. Physical Examination is conducted by a licensed physician. The medical evaluation or examination shall commence once you accept a conditional offer of employment. You will be evaluated on the physical factors related to successful performance to determine if you are presently suited for the physically demanding job.

APPLICATION AND SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONNAIRE DEADLINE: OPEN UNTIL FILLED; Postmarks not accepted. Applications and job bulletins can be obtained 24 hours a day at

Keywords: Santa Barbara County, CA, Santa Barbara , Emergency Communications- Call Taker, Other , Santa Barbara, California

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