Communications Officer Job at Los Altos, Santa Clara County, California

Communications Officer

City of Los Altos , California

Job Information 



Mid Level


$93,138.24 - $113,210.00 Annually

Application Deadline 

Open Until Filled

11/11/2020 01:11 PM PST

Recruitment Type 

Open Competitive


Under general supervision, the Communications Officer, as a member of the Police Department, transmits and receives information over the police and public works radio system; dispatches routine and emergency calls for service; types, records, and files information; handles emergency and non-emergency telephone calls utilizing complex technical aids, such as computer aided dispatch systems (CAD), and performs related work as assigned.

Examples of Essential Duties:  

The following statements are intended as general illustrations of the work in this job class and are not all inclusive for specific positions.

  1. Receives emergency and non-emergency telephone calls from the public for police, fire, or other emergency services; determines the nature of the call and the resources necessary to respond.
  2. Monitors police radio communications; maintains contact with police units to track officer status and respond to need for additional resources; monitors various radio channels to keep abreast of county-wide police activities affecting the City and assist other county agencies with mutual aid.   
  3. Prioritizes requests for police and other public safety services; determines availability and location of patrol units; transmits information and dispatches police personnel and equipment in response to calls; routes calls for fire and emergency medical assistance to the Santa Clara County Fire Department.   
  4. Assists police personnel in the field by quickly and accurately researching and relaying criminal history information and other requested data.   
  5. Communicates with callers to determine the nature of the call and provide appropriate assistance; maintains composure to ensure that complete and accurate information is transmitted to public safety and medical personnel.   
  6. Screens non-emergency calls for service; provides requested information or directs callers to the proper person, department or agency.   
  7. Updates and maintains electronic records and logs of data pertaining to calls and activities.   
  8. Receives and coordinates requests for emergency Public Works assistance outside of the City’s normal business hours (pertaining to full municipal services in Los Altos, and sewer maintenance requests in Los Altos Hills and the surrounding unincorporated areas).   
  9. Act in the place of records staff for after-hours walk-in visitors to the Police Department.   
  10. May assist with the training of new communications personnel.    

Minimum Qualifications:

KNOWLEDGE OF: Standard office methods, procedures, software and equipment; Geography of the local area; General public safety communications practices; Principles of customer service.

SKILL AND ABILITY TO: Multi-task and prioritize; Efficiently use radio and other communications equipment; Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; Analyze situations quickly and accurately; Maintain composure and work effectively under pressure; Understand and follow oral and written direction; Demonstrate initiative and exercise good judgment in the performance of duties; Establish, maintain, and promote positive working relationships with employees, other agencies, and the public; Work various shifts including nights, weekends, holidays, and intermittent shifts as needed.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS AND GENERAL WORKING CONDITIONS: This position will require the ability to work rotating shifts on an on-going basis, including irregular hours on short notice. This position will also be assigned a uniform to wearing during work hours.

Any combination of the listed experience and education requirements may lead to a qualifying application. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:    

  • Possession of a High School Diploma or G.E.D. equivalent is required.   
  • Completion of college-level coursework is highly desirable.   
  • A minimum of one year of public safety dispatching and/or basic clerical experience is required.   
  • Possession of Basic P.O.S.T. Dispatch Certificate is highly desirable and may be substituted for work experience.

IDEAL CANDIDATE POSSESSES THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS: Is highly professional, patient, respectful, and ethical; possesses excellent problem-solving skills; ability to multi-task in stressful situations. Communicates effectively and proactively both verbally and in writing. Enjoys working in a small town atmosphere with an engaged public, including merchants, property owners and residents.

Salary and Benefits:
$93,138.24 – $113,210.11 annually DOE

This is a non-exempt position represented by the Police Officers Association.

  • Retirement: CalPERS retirement plan for Classic members is 2% @ 60 with employee paying a contribution of 7%. PEPRA employees participate on a 2.0% @ 62 plan, with employee paying 6.75% of the retirement contribution. Benefits based on highest three years of compensation. The City does not participate in Social Security.  
  • Health Plans: Choice of HMO or PPO plans through CalPERS Health with most family plans covered at 100%. Employees who waive coverage may receive stipend of $350 per month.  
  • Dental/Vision: City also offers a dental and vision reimbursement plan.  
  • Flexible Spending Plan: Dependent care and health care reimbursement plan available  
  • Deferred Compensation: Voluntary participation in either Nationwide or ICMA-RC  
  • Holidays: 10 annual holidays, plus two floating holidays OR Holiday Compensation  
  • Vacation: 10 days annually  
  • Sick Leave: Allowance of 12 days annually   

A complete City application, cover letter, resume, and testing documents must be submitted online at the City's website.

Applicants must also submit proof of successful completion of either the Criticall Dispatcher test with a passing score or the P.O.S.T. Entry-level Dispatcher Test with a T-score of 50 or above. Please make arrangements to sign up for these tests in advance. Lateral applicants that are currently employed as a Public Safety Dispatcher (non-probationary) do not need to submit proof of test scores, however a California POST Dispatcher Academy Certificate is required.

Additionally, a typing certificate certifying a minimum of 40 wpm dated within one year of the application date must be submitted along with the City application. Online typing certificates will not be accepted. If you do not have a typing certificate, please schedule an appointment at a vocational school, or a staffing agency.

The recruitment will remain open until filled with a first review date of August 17,2020. Applicants most closely matching the City’s desired qualifications and organizational needs will be invited to participate in the interview process. Prior to hire, candidates will be required to successfully complete a pre-employment process, including a physical, reference checks and a complete background investigation. A conviction history will not necessarily disqualify an applicant from appointment; However, failure to disclose a conviction will result in disqualification or termination.

The City of Los Altos is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of a person’s race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, mental or physical disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age or sexual orientation. Candidates with a disability, which may require special assistance in any phase of the application or testing process, should advise City of Los Altos upon submittal of application. Documentation of the need for accommodation must accompany the request.

The above job description is meant to describe the general nature and level of work being performed; it is not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required for the position. All job requirements are subject to possible modification to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities. Some requirements may exclude individuals who pose a direct threat or significant risk to the health and safety of themselves or other employees.  


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