911 Public Safety Dispatcher

The 911 Public Safety Dispatcher Plays a Critical Role in Public Safety

THE FIRST, FIRST RESPONDERS. Henrico County’s 9-1-1 Public Safety Dispatchers are the critical link between those in need of emergency services and those that provide it. As part of the Henrico County Public Safety Team, dispatchers work in partnership with Police, Fire & EMS, and the county’s Office of Emergency Management, to deliver world-class public-safety services to the public. We are there when seconds count.

911 Public Safety Dispatcher Duties

The 9-1-1 Public Safety Dispatcher, or Communications Officer as known within the Division, is a skilled emergency communication professional who receives emergency 911 calls and non-emergency requests for police, fire and rescue. The 9-1-1 Public Safety Dispatcher determines the nature and urgency of incoming calls, prioritizes calls and dispatches the appropriate emergency respondents and equipment.

This unique and demanding position requires that you think quickly and within procedural boundaries while responding to callers who may be emotional and/or uncooperative.  You must also possess the ability to multi-task, have the ability to communicate well, and react quickly in stressful situations and life-threatening emergencies.

Minimum Qualifications

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be considered for the position of Communications Officer:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older by date of hire
  • Must be a U.S. citizen by date of hire OR a lawful U.S. resident for the past 10 consecutive years prior to date of hire
  • Must posses a high school diploma or GED equivalent by date of hire
  • Must be able to pass computerized typing test, CritiCall
  • Must be able to work assigned shifts that may include days, evenings, midnights, weekends and holidays

Applicant Disqualifications 

No application for the position of Communications Officer will be considered if there is an indication of any of the following:

  • Conviction of any felony
  • Conviction of any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude including, but not limited to, petit larceny , drugs or other controlled substances, sex offenses, or domestic assault.
  • Sale, transportation, or illegal use of any Schedule I or II drugs (i.e. cocaine, crack, heroin, opiates, LSD, PCP, mushrooms, barbiturates, ecstasy, amphetamines, etc.) within the past 10 years. The sale, transportation, or illegal use of any Schedule I or II drug beyond 10 years will be considered on a case by case basis with the following criteria: Age at the time the behavior occurred, passage of time , patterns of past behavior, severity of behavior, probable consequences if past behavior is repeated or made public, likelihood of recurrence, relevance of past behavior to public safety employment, aggravating and mitigating factors, and other relevant considerations. The illegal sale or use of a prescription drug, which may also be a schedule drug, is considered separately.
  • Use of marijuana , hash, or hash oil within the past 12 months.

Applicants may be eliminated from further consideration, on a case by case basis, for any of the following reasons:

  • Illegal use, sale, or transportation of Schedule III drugs or of prescription drugs (including Adderall).
  • Continual or unexplained poor financial responsibilities
  • Commission of undetected crimes of a serious or repetitive nature
  • Uncorrected hearing and vision that falls below our physical standards. If tested by an audiometric device, the applicant does not have an average hearing loss in the better ear greater than 40 decibels at 500 Hz, 1000 Hz and 2000 Hz with or without a hearing aid when the audiometric device is calibrated to the American National Standard. The applicant must have 20/40 acuity or better in one or both eyes, with or without corrective lenses.

Stages of the Hiring Process

  • Submit online application (Keyword: Police)
    • After submitting your application, the hiring process coordinator will contact you via email, typically within two weeks, with available dates for the CritiCall test.
  • Successfully pass CritiCall computerized typing test (free practice test)
  • Background Investigation
  • Polygraph
  • Staff Interview
  • Psychological Evaluation
  • Pre-employment Drug Screening
  • Vision and Hearing Test
  • Final Offer of Employment
  • Hire Date
  • Training Academy

Required Training

The next step in your journey to becoming a Henrico County 9-1-1 Public Safety Dispatcher is training. There are two primary training phases, as outlined below:

Phase 1: Basic Communications Academy
First, you will complete an intensive, 10 week Basic Communications Academy. The academy takes place in a classroom setting where you will learn and practice basic 9-1-1 computer functions, call types, questioning techniques and much, much more.

Phase 2: On The Job Training
Upon graduation from the Basic Communications Academy, you will then enter into the next training phase: on-the-job training. Here you will complete 880 hours training alongside a Communications Training Officer for each of the four positions in the Emergency Communications Center:

  • Phones
  • Police Radios
  • Fire/EMS Radios
  • Teletype

Pay and Benefits

The starting salary for Communications Officer is $48,500 ($23.32 hourly). You will be paid biweekly and receive a paycheck every other Friday.

In addition, you will receive a generous benefits package that includes:

  • Paid Annual Leave
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Accounts for Health and/or Child Care Expenses
  • Life Insurance
  • Long and Short Term Disability Insurance
  • Retirement Benefits through Virginia Retirement System
  • Career Development Program
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Employee Assistance Program for Employee and Family Members
  • Credit Union Membership

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the hours?
An Emergency Communications Center must be manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This includes weekends, holidays, and during inclement weather.

Communications Officers are assigned to one of three fixed (non-rotating) shifts:

  • Day Shift: 8 am-4 pm; 5 days on, 2 days off
  • Evening Shift: 2 pm-12 am; 4 days on, 3 days off
  • Midnight Shift: 10 pm-8 am; 4 days on, 3 days off

May I choose which shift I work?
No. After your training is complete you may request a transfer to specific shift. Shift preferences are taken into consideration, but not guaranteed. Communications Officer’s must be available to work any shift they may be assigned. Shift assignments are limited to a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 3 years.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact our Hiring Process Coordinator, Kristie Walkuw at wal127@henrico.us.

May I continue to go to college or work at another part-time job?

Outside Classes:
Probationary Communications Officers who elect to take classes on their own time and at their own expense should remain mindful that they will be expected to modify their schedules to accommodate the training and operational needs of their position. Education Leave and Tuition Reimbursement will not be approved during the 12-month probationary period.

Secondary Employment:
Probationary Communications Officers are not allowed to work any other employment until after successful completion of the 10-week Communications Training Academy.

What if I want to withdraw my application or don’t pass one of the phases of the hiring process?
If for whatever reason you would like to withdraw from the process at any time, please just let us know. This does not disqualify you from reapplying in the future. If you do not pass one of the phases of the hiring process, for example if you do not pass the CritiCall computer test, you are welcome to reapply and retake the test during the next open application process at henrico.us/jobs (Keyword: Police).

Any other questions?
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you have about applying for or working as a Communications Officer. Contact wal127@henrico.us.

You may also call the Hiring Process Coordinator for Communications, Kristie Walkuw at (804) 501-4806, or, if you prefer, submit this short form for more information.

Contact Us


7721 E. Parham Rd.
Henrico, VA 23294

Police Non-Emergency
(804) 501-5000
General Information
(804) 501-4800


Mailing Address
P. O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0775

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