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Public Safety Dispatcher Job Analysis Component 2: Analysis of Job Requirements

NCJ Number
John Weiner; Anna Solorio
Date Published
March 1991
203 pages
This description of the second component of a job analysis of California's public-safety dispatcher occupation identifies worker qualifications that are important for effective performance as a public-safety dispatcher.
A common "core" of required knowledge, skills, abilities, and traits (KSATs) applicable to dispatchers were identified. A total of 132 knowledge items were identified by dispatch supervisors statewide as "core" requirements for the effective performance of dispatcher duties. These items are presented as appropriate for entry-level dispatcher training. This knowledge covers 10 general subjects: work environment and conduct, communication center operations, law, complaint-taking, dissemination of information, radio dispatching, law enforcement information systems, public safety-related agencies, communication center equipment and resources, and training methods. Sixty-three dispatcher skills were identified by supervisors: vocal and listening skills and skills in reporting and recordkeeping, reading, complaint-taking, dispatching, telecommunications, interpersonal relations, and administration. A total of 22 general dispatcher abilities were identified. They encompass the three general areas of cognitive abilities (verbal, reasoning, memory, and perceptual); psycho-motor abilities (manual dexterity and speed); and sensory-motor abilities (speech, hearing, and vision). Fourteen traits were identified for effective dispatching. The most critical traits are tolerance of stress, integrity, dependability, and emotional control, followed by tolerance of an unpleasant work environment, adaptability, teamwork, maturity, productivity, positive attitude, assertiveness, social concern, motivation, and interpersonal sensitivity. The methodology for developing the KSATs consisted of the development of an initial list of KSATs, along with several prototype rating scales. The KSATs and rating scales were reviewed with subject-matter experts. A survey instrument was then developed and pilot tested, followed by its administration to a representative sample of dispatch supervisors throughout the State. The survey responses were keyed into a computer file and statistically analyzed in order to identify "core" KSATs. 18 references and 16 appendixes that detail characteristics of the KSATs