Public Safety Dispatcher

Modified: July 6, 2016 1:47pm

invites applications for the position of:

Public Safety Dispatcher

#62-689 - Open Competitive (open to the public)

Opening Date: July 6, 2016
Closing Date: August 3, 2016
Application fee: $20.00

Residence Requirements:

RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS: CANDIDATES MUST HAVE BEEN LEGAL RESIDENTS OF ERIE COUNTY FOR AT LEAST ONE MONTH IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE DATE OF THE WRITTEN TEST AND MUST BE LEGAL RESIDENTS OF ERIE COUNTY AT THE TIME OF APPOINTMENT. Preference may be given to successful candidates who have been residents of the municipality in which the appointment is to be made for one month preceding the date of the certification of the eligible list and who are residents of the municipality at the time of appointment. Non-residents may be required to become a resident of the appointing municipality if local law so states. The eligible list resulting from this examination will be used to fill vacancies which may occur in municipalities or districts under the jurisdiction of Erie County Civil Service while this list is active.

Examples of Duties:

A Public Safety Dispatcher is a highly responsible and moderately difficult position involving operating a radio, telephone and related communication equipment for the efficient relay of information and dispatch of personnel and equipment used in the protection of life and property; Answers and coordinates calls for service between the public and police, fire department, ambulance and other appropriate departments; receives calls on multi-lines switchboard regarding various emergencies; (e.g. fires, robberies, stolen vehicles, missing persons, etc.); receives calls over "hot line" from fire departments
and ambulance companies; dispatches emergency vehicles and ambulances for emergency and routine calls; relays calls to appropriate agencies or departments as necessary; decides priorities of service when necessary in accordance with established policies; operates teletype and computer terminal to enter and retrieve information and relay same as needed; may make out process routine forms, (stolen and recovered vehicle reports, missing persons, thefts, complaints and others); may maintain a log of phone and radio messages; maintains status of emergency vehicles.


MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates must meet one of the following requirements on or before the date of the written test:

A. Completion of sixty (60) semester hours at a regionally accredited or New York State registered two or four year college or university; or:
B. Graduation from high school or possession of a high school equivalency diploma and two years of experience in dispatching emergency personnel or working as a telecommunications operator in the public safety area; or:
C. An equivalent combination of training and experience as defined by the limits of (A) and (B).


Notice to Candidates:

Transcripts will now be accepted by the Department of Personnel ONLY at time of application.

All subsequent transcripts must be submitted at time of interview.

NOTES: 1. * Verifiable part-time and/or volunteer experience will be pro-rated toward meeting full-time experience requirements. 2. Your degree and/or college credit must have been awarded by a regionally accredited college or university or one recognized by the New York State Education Department as following acceptable educational practices. A grade of “D” or better is necessary for a course to be credited as successfully completed. If your degree and/or college credit was awarded by an educational institution outside of the United States and its territories, you must provide independent verification of equivalency. You can write to this Department for a list of acceptable companies providing this service; you must pay the required evaluation fee.

Examination date:

September 10, 2016

Applications Must Be Postmarked or Hand Delivered By:

August 3, 2016

The New York State Department of Civil Service has not prepared a test guide for this examination. However,candidates may find information in the publication "How to take a written test" helpful in preparing for this test. This publication is available on line at:


Subjects of Examination:

Subjects of Examination: A written test designed to evaluate knowledge, skills and /or abilities in the following areas:

1. Coding/decoding information

These questions test for the ability to follow a set of coding rules. Some questions will require you to code information by converting certain information into letters or numbers. Other questions will require you to decode information by determining if the information that has already been converted into letters or numbers is correct. Complete directions will be provided; no previous knowledge of or training in any coding system is required.

2. Following directions (maps)

These questions test your ability to follow physical/geographic directions using street maps or building maps. You will have to read and understand a set of directions and then use them on a simple map.

3. Retaining and comprehending spoken information from calls for emergency services

These questions test for your ability to retain specific information that is heard in calls for emergency service, such as a street address, or to comprehend spoken information from emergency service calls, such as determining the location of a site in relation to landmarks. Simulated 911 calls will be played on audio CD. Immediately following each call, candidates are given audio instructions identifying which questions they are to answer within the test booklet. The questions that candidates are directed to answer for each simulated call will not be in sequential order. Candidates will need to retain and comprehend the information and instruction provided in this portion of the test to respond appropriately to the questions asked and to determine which questions to answer. The time allotted to answer these questions will be limited. At the end of each answer period, the CD will automatically play the next call. Note paper will be provided. Candidates will be permitted to take notes and to refer to them when answering the questions.

4. Radio operations and dispatching procedures

These questions test for knowledge of two-way radio systems and operations, and may cover dispatching procedures when appropriate.

5. Understanding and interpreting written material

These questions test how well you comprehend written material. You will be provided with brief reading selections and will be asked questions about the selections. All the information required to answer the questions will be presented in the selections; you will not be required to have any special knowledge relating to the subject areas of the selections.

NOTICE TO CANDIDATES:  Unless otherwise noted, candidates are permitted to use quiet, hand held, solar or battery powered calculators.  Devices with typewriter keyboards, "Spell Checkers", “Personal Digital Assistants", "Address Books", "Language Translators", "Dictionaries", or any similar devices are prohibited.  You may not bring books or other reference materials.

PERFORMANCE TEST: A performance test will also be held at a later date, to be announced. The written test will be a ranking test and the performance test will be a qualifying (pass/fail) test. You must pass both the written and performance tests to be considered for appointment. You will not be called to the performance test unless you have passed the written test. Since the performance test is qualifying (pass/fail), if you pass the performance test your final score for the examination will be the score that you achieve on the written test. 

Candidates may be invited to the performance test in the order of the scores they achieve on the written test. The County reserves the right to give the performance test to only as many candidates as are needed to fill available vacancies.

The test will be administered on a conventional personal computer (PC). You will be using a conventional PC keyboard, but you will not be using a mouse.

SUBJECT: The test consists of three parts, each preceded by a separate practice session. It will test your ability to enter the kinds of information that dispatchers and related personnel must process for fire, police, and emergency medical services. You will not need any specific information prior to the test; rather, complete on-screen instructions will tell you all that you need to know in order to take the test. In order to pass, you must enter the data at a rate of at least 6,000 keystrokes per hour (which is equal to typing approximately 20 words per minute), with an accuracy rate of at least 97.5%.

RETEST POLICY: Candidates who fail the performance test will be permitted a retest which will be given on the same day as the original performance test.

WAIVERS: If you have passed a 911 keyboarding performance test administered by a local jurisdiction in New York State within the past five years of the written test., the performance test may be waived. If you request a waiver, you must submit verifiable evidence of qualifying. Information submitted must contain the title, location, and date of the performance test taken, as well as proof of passing.


A $20.00 filing fee is required for this exam. The required fee must accompany your application. Send or bring check or money order made payable to Erie County Personnel Department and write the examination number(s) on your check or money order. Do not send or bring cash, as the County cannot be responsible for cash payment. As no refund will be made, you are urged to compare your qualifications carefully with the requirements for admission and file only for those examinations for which you are clearly qualified.