Dispatcher Information Page

Why the Contra Costa County
Office of the Sheriff?

  • The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office Communications center is the largest in the County. It is the primary answering point for all 9-1-1 calls that originate from within the unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County as well as 8 city jurisdictions within Contra Costa and Solano Counties. Sheriff’s Dispatchers provide the critical link between the citizen requesting help and the law enforcement unit responding.
  • The wide variety of shifts, special assignments, promotional opportunities, and professional reputation are what separates the Sheriff's Office from other Communications centers.


PeratorF The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff is recruiting men and women for a challenging career in the Sheriff's public safety communications center. No prior experience is required. Individuals hired will receive intensive training during the initial 12-month probationary period and are expected to qualify for advancement to the class of Sheriff's Dispatcher II ($4,621 - $5,349) within one year of employment. This is a non-sworn, uniformed position. Dispatchers receive a  yearly uniform allowance  and may qualify for a bilingual differential upon upon passing a language proficiency evaluation. 

Sheriff's Dispatchers are assigned to the Communications center located in Martinez, near I-680 and SR-4. The facility operates on a 7-day, 24-hour schedule. Sheriff Dispatchers are responsible for receiving incoming emergency and non-emergency police, fire, emergency ambulance service calls; determining response, prioritizing and dispatching units in accordance to established Sheriff policies and procedures; entering and retrieving information from computerized data systems; managing radio communication for multiple (anywhere from 15 to 50) patrol units operating in the field at any given time and provide ancillary dispatch services and call-out support to over three dozen municipal agencies and districts, including the Office of Emergency Services, Emergency Medical Services Agency and Animal Services Department. WEEKEND, HOLIDAY AND OVERTIME WORK IS REQUIRED. All overtime is compensated at 1-1/2 times regular hourly rate. Specialized assignments include Communications Training Officer, Communications Training Instructor, Special Events Dispatcher, and Tactical Dispatcher.

The Communications Center features modern computer-aided dispatch, radio and telecommunications equipment as well as ergonomically-adjustable work stations and individual task lighting. Background noise varies depending on the call and radio workload. Work involves prolonged periods of sitting and wearing a headset. Typically work stress and pressure is generated by the need to appropriately and quickly handle emergency and routine events, often simultaneously. Desirable qualities for Sheriff’s Dispatch candidates include the ability to read, comprehend and retain information, ability to remain calm in stressful situations, adaptability, ability to act promptly and decisively,  ability to make practical, logical decisions, be able to communicate clearly, accurately record and relay information, perform multiple tasks simultaneously, understand and carry out verbal and written instructions,
maintain a professional demeanor even under stressful conditions, and maintain a cooperative working relationship with peers and supervisors.


Prior to employment applicants must successfully complete a background investigation that will include reference checks with current and past employers and must successfully pass a medical examination and a psychological test, which measures an individual's ability to work under stress and adapt to a strict working environment.

The employment list established as a result of this examination may remain in effect for six (6) months.



Valid California Motor Vehicle Operator’s License at time of appointment. Out of state valid Motor Vehicle Operator’s License will be accepted during the application process.


Possession of a high school diploma, G.E.D. equivalency, or high school proficiency certificate.


Must be 18 years of age or older at time of appointment. No maximum age

Background Requirements:

Must pass a thorough background investigation, medical screening, and psychological evaluation prior to employment.

Typing Proficiency:

Ability to accurately type at a speed not less than 40 net words per minute (SEE BELOW).

(1) A polygraph examination and thorough background investigation. The County
 Medical Consultants shall conduct the psychological testing and medical exam utilizing specification of the State of California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. 

(2) Shall not have been convicted of a felony in this or any other state or in any federal jurisdiction, or of any offense in any other state or in any federal jurisdiction, which would have been a felony if committed in this state.

Typing Requirement

This position requires the use of a computer keyboard with skill and accuracy. All applicants must show written proof of the ability to type 40 net words per minute. Typing certification must have been attained or renewed within the last six (6) months. Certificate of proof may be obtained at a California High School, Community College, Business College, Employment Referral Agency, Local Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Office, or an Adult Education Center. Written proof or a typing certificate MUST be submitted and/or attached to the official County application at time of filing. Certificates from online services or home computer software are not acceptable.

The testing process takes approximately two to three months to complete depending on each applicant's individual background.

Lateral Applicants

Current California dispatchers are encouraged to apply as lateral dispatch candidates. Lateral applicants must complete the same performance examination and hiring process as entry level applicants, however laterals are hired at a higher pay scale and will go through a condensed training program.

Application Process

Applicants are encouraged to apply on-line at www.cccounty.us/hr. A completed Contra Costa County application, supplemental questionnaire and required typing proficiency must be received or postmarked by the application cutoff date listed on the Human Resources website. Faxed applications WILL NOT be accepted. Applications may also be obtained by visiting the Human Resources office at 651 Pine St., 2nd floor, Martinez, CA 94553. If applying online, the typing certificate MUST be attached to the online applications. Resumes will not be substituted for the official application.


Contra Costa County administers a computerized skills assessment examination. This performance examination is designed to measure abilities that are both important for successful performance of dispatcher duties and necessary for job candidates to possess before hire. Test items may consist of the following job-related areas: decision-making, data entry, call summarization, memory recall, prioritization, map reading, verbal ability, reasoning ability, and perceptual ability. The test will take up to two hours to complete. The POST T-score will not be accepted. All candidates must pass the performance examination in order to be considered for employment.

To download the test preparation guide, click here.
To download a list of frequently asked questions, click here.


Upon successful completion of the performance examination, applicants will be scheduled for an oral board interview which will evaluate such job related factors as job readiness, decision-making and problem solving abilities, interpersonal skills, and oral communication skills. This interview is usually scheduled two to four weeks after the performance examination dates.


Applicants who pass both the performance and oral test will be placed on the Sheriff’s Dispatcher I eligibility list for six months. Rank on the list is determined by performance on the skills assessment examination and the oral interview.


Veterans who have received an honorable discharge and disabled veterans may be allowed an additional 5% of their total earned score (providing the exam is otherwise successfully completed). To obtain this credit, veterans MUST provide a DD214 that indicates the applicant received an honorable discharge or proof of disability ATTACHED TO THEIR APPLICATION AT THE TIME OF FILING.



The starting salary is $4,480.44 monthly. Advancement to the higher steps of the salary level is in accordance with Salary Resolutions of the Board of Supervisors

Shift Work:

Sheriff’s Dispatchers work a variety of hours and shifts, including, including 5/8, 4/10 and combination of 2/8 and 2/12. While in training, the Sheriff’s Dispatcher I will work the shift of their assigned training officer and will alternate approximately every three weeks. Time and one-half is paid for approved overtime worked.


After successfully completing Sheriff’s Dispatcher I probation, dispatchers are eligible for an additional pay differential depending on their shift. Dispatchers assigned to evening watch receive an additional 5%. Dispatchers assigned to morning watch receive an additional 3%.


Sheriff’s Dispatchers are paid a uniform allowance of $872 annually.

Bilingual Pay: $100 per month

A credit union is available which offers systematic savings and loans at low interest rates.
Holidays: An average of thirteen (13) paid holidays per year.

Two (2) weeks vacation each year for the first five (5) years, three (3) weeks vacation for 5-10, further increases beyond 10 years.
Sick Leave:

Ninety-six (96) sick leave hours are accumulated each year. Credits are accumulated indefinitely. As of the date of retirement, accumulated sick leave is converted to retirement on the basis of one day of retirement service credit for each day of accumulated sick leave credit.

Prepaid medical and hospital plans including dental and life insurance are available to employees and their dependents. Employees may select a health plan, dental plan, or health and dental plan through CalPers. A term life insurance policy is included with any health and/or dental plan enrollment.

Approximately 2% per year at age 55. The County retirement program includes the benefits established under the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 and Social Security.



The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff enjoys an outstanding reputation as one of the most professional, progressive agencies in the United States. Our mission is to ensure the safety of our officers and the public through superior service, support and teamwork. No Sheriff’s Dispatcher succeeds alone. It takes a cohesive team of motivated professionals to accomplish this mission.

For information about the Sheriff’s Dispatcher position, please email DispRecruiting@so.cccounty.us