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Public Safety Dispatcher FAQs

What is the Public Safety Dispatcher position?

Public safety dispatchers at the UCLA Police Department are full-time, non-sworn employees who, along with other tasks, receive emergency and non-emergency calls for service for law enforcement, fire, and medical aid incidents, and dispatch the appropriate law enforcement, fire, or medical aid personnel, as needed. Please see the POST website for additional information on selection standards at:

Do I have to have prior experience as a Public Safety Dispatcher to apply?

No prior experience is necessary. What the applicant must be able to show is a stable work history that shows reliability, honesty, good work ethics and the ability to adapt to a changing environment.

Will you hire me if I have been arrested or convicted of a crime?

Each applicant’s circumstances are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, felony convictions will make you ineligible. It is possible to be considered for employment with a prior, non-felony arrest and/or conviction.

Am I eligible to be hired if I experimented with drugs a long time ago?

Again, each applicant’s circumstances are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It is possible to be considered for employment with prior drug use.

What is the hiring process?

You must:

  1. Submit an online application
  2. Pass a written examination
  3. Pass an oral interview
  4. Be able to type 35 words per minute and submit a typing test certificate prior to beginning the background investigation
  5. Pass a thorough background investigation
    1. If warranted, pass a polygraph examination
  6. Pass a medical examination
  7. Pass a psychological evaluation

What does the written test consists of?

The written test consists of eleven individually timed tests with their own set of instructions and is timed separately. The written test covers oral communications skills, verbal ability, reasoning ability, memory ability and perceptual ability.

Is there any material/resources I can obtain to prepare myself for the written test?

Because the tests measure general abilities, there is no study guide or reading list for this test. However, there is an examinee guide that POST has made available regarding these tests on their website at,

If I have already taken the 120-hour POST Public Safety Dispatcher course or have taken other classes to have earned my POST Certificate, do I still have to take the POST written test?

Unless you are currently a working dispatcher (lateral), having the POST Dispatcher certificate alone does not exempt you from taking the POST Dispatcher Test.

Will a background investigation be conducted?

A thorough background investigation is required of all Public Safety Dispatchers before being hired. The goal of the investigation is to verify that the applicant has no past behaviors indicating unsuitability to perform public safety dispatching duties. The background investigation at a minimum will include a check of motor vehicle records and a search of local, state and federal fingerprint files to determine any criminal record.

Why is there a medical examination?

A medical examination is required of all Public Safety Dispatchers before being hired. The goal of the medical examination is to determine whether the applicant has any medical condition that would preclude the safe and efficient performance of dispatcher duties.

Why is there a psychological evaluation?

A psychological screening is required of all Public Safety Dispatchers before being hired. The goal of the psychological evaluation is to determine the applicant’s suitability for the position.

If I am currently employed as a Public Safety Dispatcher (lateral), am I eligible to waive any portion of the hiring process?

Yes. A lateral applicant employed as a Public Safety Dispatcher with another California Police or Sheriff Department is eligible to waive the written portion of the hiring process. Applicant must possess a POST Public Safety Dispatcher certificate and a copy of this certificate should be included with the applicant's application.

As a U.S. Military Veteran, am I eligible for extra points during the hiring process?

There is not a predetermined increase in points, however we encourage candidates to emphasize military experience to demonstrate quality work and life experience that comes with service in the military.

What is the starting salary?

The current hourly pay range for the Public Safety Dispatcher position ranges from $25.27/hr to $37.68/hr. Entry level dispatchers will begin at the base step of $25.27/hr. A higher salary is available to individuals who have experience as a Public Safety Dispatcher.

How can I go on a sit-along?

You must contact the Communications Center Supervisor to request a sit-along by calling (310) 825-1491. Dispatcher candidates are highly encouraged to participate for obvious reasons. Sit-alongs can be done on any shift or day. Participants must arrive dressed in casual business attire (collared shirt, undershirt, dress pants, shoes) and must present a valid California Driver License. A criminal history and driving history check will be conducted on all participants upon arrival at Police Headquarters. Any participant with a questionable background will not be allowed to participate. Additionally, we will arrest any participant found to have an outstanding warrant.

Will I be required to work different shifts?

Public Safety Dispatchers work a modified work schedule: 12 hours a day, 3 times a week, and one 4-hour shift, to make up a 40-hour work week. Public Safety Dispatchers staff the Communications Center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and routinely work rotating shifts approximately every 6 months.

Will I be required to have a California Driver’s License?

You must have, or be able to obtain a California Driver’s License at the time of employment.

How long is the training once I am hired?

Training lasts for 4-6 months, depending on the applicant’s experience.


UCLA Police Department
Phone: (310) 206-8883
Fax: (310) 267-2546
Mail Code: 136408


601 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1364

Business Hours

Monday – Friday 8 a. m. to 5 p. m.

Station Hours

24 hours a day, 7 days a week