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Photo of dispatcher in front of computer 

Contra Costa County
Sheriff's Dispatcher Pay Range
$71,584.80 - $84,940.08*
*As of July 1, 2019
$75,164.04 - $89,187.12 (2020-2021)
$78,920.28 - $93,646.44 (2021-2022)
$82,868.28 - $98,328/72 (2022-2023)
20% pay increase over 4 year period effective 07/01/2019

$3,000 Hiring Bonus for Laterals
(paid upon completion of probation)



Email DispRecruiting@so.cccounty.us for upcoming application dates.



The Position

The Office of the Sheriff is seeking men and women interested in an exciting and challenging career in dispatching. Prior experience is not required. Sheriff’s Dispatchers perform a full range of radio and telephone duties. They receive, assess, prioritize and classify calls for service on a variety of emergency and non-emergency phone lines, including 911, from a population totaling 450,000 residents in 12 police jurisdictions. They also dispatch calls for service to police units, process computer inquiries and other requests for units in the field, and accurately track the activities of multiple police units.

Applicants selected as Sheriff’s Dispatcher I undergo six weeks of intensive classroom instruction on topics such as radio codes, phonetic alphabet, criminal law, call-taking, and Computer Aided Dispatch system. This is followed by 8-12 weeks of live call-taking and if successful, 3-4 months of live radio training under the supervision of a Communications Training Officer. Upon successful completion of the training process, they are promoted to Sheriff’s Dispatcher II.

Typical Tasks

  • Receives telephone and radio messages
  • Uses computer-aided keyboard and data entry equipment or manually records and relays information (often of an emergency nature) to appropriate unit; such as patrol cars, other police agencies, ambulances, the County Public Works Department and the Office of Emergency Services
  • Receives, transmits and records teletype and data systems messages
  • Answer questions from the public
  • May be asked to dispatch from a mobile command center

Minimum Qualifications

  • License: Have a valid California motor vehicle operator’s license.
  • Education: Possession of a high school diploma, GED equivalency, or high school proficiency certificate.
  • Age: Must be 18 years of age.
  • Typing Proficiency: Ability to accurately type at a speed not less than 40 words per minute.
  • Other Requirements: Must pass a thorough background investigation, medical screening, and psychological evaluation prior to employment.  Ability to work various shifts including weekends and holidays. Overtime work is required.
  • Desirable Characteristics:
    •  Possess good multitasking skills
    • Remain calm under pressure
    • Good communication skills
    • Work well in a fast-paced team environment

Photo of Dispatcher at a computer

Testing Process

The testing process takes approximately 3-4 months to complete. Applicants must pass a computerized skills assessment (CritiCall), consisting of decision-making, data entry, memorization, prioritization, map reading, spelling and reading comprehension. Applicants will then be evaluated by an oral interview panel. Applicants who are successful will undergo a thorough background investigation, a psychological and medical examination, as well as truth verification testing. Although this is an extended process, all phases of testing are essential to ensure an applicant is suitable for this demanding, yet rewarding career.

CritiCall and the Dispatcher Applicant: F.A.Q.s

Veterans' Preference Credits

Honorably discharged veterans may be allowed an additional 5% of their total score upon successful completion of the examination process. To obtain credit, veterans must provide a DD214 at the time of application.

Salary & Benefits

Dispatch trainees are paid during their training, with a step increase 6 months after successful completion of training. They are provided $872 per year for uniform allowance, and $100 per month bilingual pay (if qualified). After passing probation, shift differential is granted at 3% or 5% of base salary, depending on the shift. Sheriff’s Dispatchers enjoy 13 paid holidays per year and accrue vacation at two weeks per year for the first five years, increasing with the length of service. 

Sheriff’s Dispatchers work a wide variety of shifts and hours, including 4-day a week work schedules. Shifts are chosen by seniority 3 times per year.

Insurance options include medical, dental and life insurance for employees and their dependents. The retirement system is the Retirement Act of 1937 and Social Security.  Although Contra Costa County is not part of the PERS system, individuals currently enrolled in PERS may be eligible for reciprocity.

Application Process

Applicants must submit an online application at: 


Applicants will be notified of the date, time and location of their assigned test date for the written test in approximately four to six weeks.


Specific questions about this position can be sent to the Dispatch Recruiting email: DispRecruiting@so.cccounty.us