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City of Huntsville looking to hire 911 call takers

These call takers would work side by side with dispatchers but would not actually be dispatchers.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Madison County 911 Center is looking to hire more call takers.

These call takers would work side by side with dispatchers but would not actually be dispatchers. Call takers are the first person people hear when they call 911.

"You gotta be able to multitask, you gotta be able to listen and type at the same time while taking accurate details of what's going on," said Huntsville Police Sgt. Ricky Stephen. "With the shortage, it's creating extended call times, so what we're trying to do, we're trying to get people in here to be the first ones to answer those phones, get that accurate information and to get it to other agencies as quickly as possible and get help where it's needed."

More information can be found online on the city of Huntsville's job posting.

The city provided the following description of the position:

This is communication work in answering emergency and non-emergency lines and relaying pertinent and accurate information to the appropriate agency. Work requires fast, efficient, and accurate handling of standard or emergency calls. Work is performed independently within established policies and procedures with a supervisor available for assistance if needed. Work is reviewed while in progress. Operates various communication equipment, computer aided dispatch (CAD) System, receiving incoming calls for all police, fire, ambulance, 911, and other emergency requests. Receives complaints from the public concerning crime and emergencies; questions caller to determine nature of problem; enters information into CAD System verifying the location and determining the appropriate responder and dispatcher. Maintains, when possible, verbal contact with caller for the purpose of updating in-progress calls, thereby continually updating the responding units. Requires regular and prompt attendance plus the ability to work well with others and work well as a team. Fills out trouble reports on computer system. Cleans work station. May provide on-the-job training for new employees. Performs related work as required.

Physical and Environmental Factors:

Work is essentially sedentary with occasional walking, bending, lifting of objects under 25 pounds, or minimal physical activities. Work requires the ability to sit for extended periods of time, to operate personal computers and transmitters/receivers and to perceive and or discriminate colors, sounds, depth and texture. Work is performed in a communications center building without windows.

Public Safety Communications Operators normally work five (5) days a week, eight (8) hours per shift. This job is 24/7 shift work which requires work on nights, weekends, and holidays. 

Minimum Education, Training and Experience

High school diploma from a school accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or GED certificate issued by the appropriate state agency and some experience in the efficient operation of communication equipment; or any combination of education, training and experience that demonstrates the above listed knowledge, skills and abilities. Knowledge of computer terminal operation. Knowledge of the methods of operation of a telephone call taker. Knowledge of the codes and appropriate use. Ability to perform several tasks at once with speed and accuracy. Ability to answer calls and questions with a clear, well-modulated voice. Ability to type 35 words per minute.

Applicants meeting all requirements must attend an orientation on this position that will be conducted by communications personnel. During this orientation, a typing and spelling test will be given. Applicants must also pass an oral interview and extensive background investigation which includes a polygraph and drug screening test. 

Necessary Special Requirements:

Must possess and maintain a valid driver's license.

Must successfully complete a pre-employment polygraph.