How to Become a Communication Specialist

 

Dispatcher Kathy Opalacz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For anyone interested in being a part of the public safety community, becoming a Communications Specialist is an excellent place to start. Employees learn the conceptual fundamentals of public safety and develop the skills to effectively use the equipment. The knowledge and confidence gained through the training and on the job experience helps employees to grow in ways they never dreamed.

The Communications Bureau is part of the Support Division and is the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the City of Greenville. Thirty-one civilian employees are responsible for answering over 250,000 telephone calls a year and for maintaining efficient radio contact with all police, fire and forensics responders for over 98,000 calls for service each year. The Communications Bureau also monitors the public safety video network.

Dispatcher at work

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Work Schedule

The Bureau is staffed 24 hours a day/365 days a year. Employees work 12-hour days with every other weekend off. Each year, operators bid for their shift of choice. Shift assignments are made based on longevity scores and performance evaluations.

Starting Salary

The staring salary is $12.16 an hour for applicants with no prior experience or certification. Applicants with South Carolina SLED/NCIC Certification, South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy-Basic 911 Certification and current APCO certifications may be eligible for a 3% to 5% increase in salary.

Overtime Pay

All hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week are compensated at the rate of time and a half.

Benefits

  • Medical and dental Insurance at a group rate; City pays a portion of the coverage
  • $25,000 life insurance policy for all full-time employees
  • Deferred compensation plans (401K or 457b) are offered
  • Membership in the credit union is available
  • Eligible for South Carolina State Retirement after 28 years of service
  • Education tuition reimbursement
  • Yearly physicals at no cost to the employee
  • 24 hours of funeral leave for the death of an immediate family member
  • All employees accrue eight-hour days of leave time at the rates of:
    • 1st year of employment: 13 days
    • 2nd - 10th: 18 days
    • 11th - 20th: 23 days
    • 21st and beyond: 28 days
    • 11 eight-hour holidays each year

Employment Requirements

  • At least 18 years of age
  • United States citizen
  • High school diploma or GED equivalency
  • Never convicted of a felony
  • Never convicted of a crime of moral turpitude or a misdemeanor carrying a possible sentence of more than one year
  • Pass a physical exam and drug testing

View more information about the Police Department's Communications Bureau.

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