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Communications Operator Series

Communications Operator Series

California State Personnel Board Specification

Series established April 1, 1995


This series specification describes two classes used to perform Communication Center duties. The positions provide public safety and operational radio communications by performing a variety of duties requiring operation of telecommunications equipment.


Communications Operator Series Specification - Class Titles and Codes
Schem Code Class Code Class
CR90 1670 Communications Operator
CR95 1671 Communications Supervisor

Definition of Series

Incumbents in this series either operate or supervise employees who operate multifrequency/channel radio systems, law enforcement telecommunications terminals, computer terminals, and associated equipment; respond to telephone hot-line circuits; dispatch mobile law enforcement and emergency response units to specified points as required; identify locations where assistance is required, determine the availability and location of departmental units, and dispatch units by radio; request emergency services as requested or required by field personnel; respond to other law enforcement and emergency response agencies, dispatching departmental units for response as necessary; act as incident coordinators, tracking and responding to emergency response calls; access data related to warrants, driver licenses, vehicle and vessel registrations, hazardous materials, weapons, stolen property, and criminal history information through the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System; access data on other law enforcement records' databases; maintain required logs; answer telephone inquiries and provide information; and perform other related duties.

Definition of Levels*

Communications Operator

This is the entry, working, and journey level for this series. Employees work under general supervision in a Communications Center


* Additional information regarding functions performed, complexity factors, and scope of responsibility for the Department of Mental Health is contained in a separate document titled "Allocation Guidelines." following established policies and procedures in order to perform a variety of duties. Duties include operating multifrequency/channel radio telephone systems and computer-aided transmitting and receiving equipment to receive calls from field units, telephones, or other sources; filling out dispatch logs or typing entries into computer terminals; receiving and transmitting reports of incidents and requests for assistance; answering telephone requests for information; relaying calls for emergency services vehicles, other law enforcement agencies, or other assistance requested by field units.


At the full journey level, employees work under direction and perform all of the above and select receivers and transmitters and adjust volume controls; dispatch units or other equipment to specific points as required; provide information as requested or required by officers in the field; and act as a leadperson.

Communications Supervisor

This is the supervisory level in the series. Under general direction, incumbents typically plan, organize, and assign work to a group of communications personnel and may assist with the 24-hour operation of a communications center. Typical duties include: providing for and conducting training for communications personnel in the operation of radio/telephone receivers, transmitters, teletypewriters and associated equipment, teleprinters, computer-aided dispatching, and departmental radio procedures; working with and assisting employees in learning radio transmission codes, local geography, departmental rules and regulations, and allied material; preparing employees' work schedules; reviewing and evaluating employees' work performance; participating in the selection of new communications personnel; and performing routine staff work and the most difficult dispatch duties.

Minimum Qualifications

Communications Operator

Education: Equivalent to completion of the 12th grade. and Either I Experience: Six months of experience in the California state service performing the duties of a Dispatcher-Clerk.



Experience: One year of experience in dispatching work involving the operation of radio communications equipment/systems.



Experience: Two years of experience involving a substantial amount of direct and telephone contact with the public and the responsibility to perform numerous tasks simultaneously.

Communications Supervisor

Either I


Experience: One year of experience in the California state service performing the duties comparable to a Communications Operator, Range B.



Experience: Three years of experience in dispatching for a department for emergency vehicles by radio/telephone.



Experience: Four years of progressively responsible experience in a large dispatch center for dispatching police, forestry, or fire vehicles, one year of which must include supervision of subordinate communications personnel.

Knowledge and Abilities

Communications Operator

Knowledge of: Alphanumeric sequences.


Ability to: Work under stress and maintain composure; follow instructions precisely; listen and translate what is heard into the appropriate action; speak English over the telephone quickly and be easily understood; adapt quickly to a variety of situations; act in an emergency situation; write rapidly and legibly; perform several functions simultaneously; hear in the presence of significant background noise; read and comprehend at the level required for the job; determine officer's welfare from voice inflection; establish priorities and take appropriate action; extract critical information from incoming calls; recall a variety of situations and retain information; anticipate the officer's need for assistance; type; operate and monitor a multitude of frequencies and a variety of highly technical communication systems and equipment.

Communications Supervisor

Knowledge of: Telecommunications systems including California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS); Radio Standard Operating Procedure policy and procedures; National Crime Information Center policy and procedures; computer-aided dispatch systems; principles of effective writing; departmental Equal Employment Opportunity objectives; a supervisor's role in the Equal Employment Opportunity and the processes available to meet the Equal Employment Opportunity objectives.


Ability to: Work under stress and maintain composure, establish priorities, and take appropriate action; recall a variety of situations and retain information; document accurately; compose written reports; supervise the work of others; train employees; give accurate instructions and directions; operate radio console, teletype, and other radio room equipment; effectively contribute to the Department's Equal Employment Opportunity objectives.

Special Personal Characteristics

All Levels:

Consistently report to work with a minimum of absences; willingness to work on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays at odd or irregular hours and night shifts; voice well modulated for radio transmission and clear enunciation; emotional stability; hearing necessary to perform the duties of the position; and a satisfactory record as a law-abiding citizen.

Special Requirements

All Levels:

Existing law requires that a thorough background investigation shall be conducted to verify the absence of past behavior indicative of unsuitability to perform public safety dispatcher duties. The background investigation shall include a check of Department of Motor Vehicles' records, and a search of local, State, and national criminal history files to disclose any criminal record. Persons unsuccessful in the investigation cannot be appointed to the Communications Operator series.


Existing law requires that a medical examination shall be conducted to verify the absence of any medical condition which would preclude the safe and efficient performance of dispatcher duties. Persons unsuccessful in the medical exam cannot be appointed to the Communications Operator series.


Penal Code Section 13510(c) requires that State agencies participating in the P.O.S.T. program shall evaluate oral communication skills to ensure skill levels commensurate with the satisfactory performance of dispatch duties.


Penal Code Section 13510(c) requires that State agencies participating in the P.O.S.T. program shall require that the P.O.S.T. Public Safety Dispatcher's Basic Course be the minimum basic training for all public safety dispatchers in the program. The course shall be completed within 12 months of hire or assignment to dispatcher duties. Failure to successfully complete the course shall be cause for termination based on failure to meet the required conditions of employment.

Class History

Communications Operator Series History - Dates Established, Revised, and Title Changed
Class Date Established Date Revised Title Changed
Communications Operator 04/01/1995 09/09/1999 09/09/1999
Communications Supervisor 04/01/1995 09/09/1999 09/09/1999
  Updated: 6/3/2012
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