Job Description



DEPARTMENT: Emergency Communications Department

CIVIL SERVICE: Subject to civil service rules and regulations

HOURS OF WORK: 40 hour workweek (various rotating or fixed shift assignments)

UNION AFFILIATION: Teamsters Local 25

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES: Test, monitor, and operate police and fire signaling systems. Receive and process police, fire, and EMS-related emergency calls using various national, state, and local protocols. Dispatch police, fire, EMS, and other emergency units and personnel as needed. Monitor and operate radio, computer, telephone, and other specialized equipment in support of public safety communications and dispatch functions. Perform other dispatch, signal monitoring, and communications support duties as assigned.

Working under the supervision of the Communications Supervisor/Senior ETD, the ETD will have detailed job responsibilities in the following major areas:

· Receiving Telephone Calls and Obtaining Information Using Structured Protocols

· Dispatching Public Safety Personnel and Resources

· Understanding Police and Fire Field Operations and Procedures

· Processing Alarms from Police, Fire and Central Station Signaling Equipment

· Providing Information to Responders, the Public and Other Agencies

· Providing Emergency Medical Dispatch Services and Instructions

· Testing City Fire and Intrusion Alarm Signaling Equipment

· Servicing Field Unit Requests for Service

· Reporting and Recordkeeping

· Troubleshooting 911 and Other Signaling Equipment

· Operating General Facility Devices and Equipment

· Taking Reports Over the Phone

· Continuing Training

· Maintaining the Facility

· Undertaking Special Projects

ETDs receive a variety of operational and technical training in support of their duties.

ETDs work in a combined 911 and Public Safety Dispatch environment handling police, fire, and medical emergencies. ETDs also handle police and fire non-emergency calls on 10-digit business lines . Based on training, console position setup and the discretion of supervisors, ETDs will be expected to work at any position including those primarily responsible for call answering, police dispatching, fire/EMS dispatching, and computer operations. ETDs are expected to participate in on-going training and to maintain all dispatch-related certifications, including those for CPR, EMD, and CJIS. ETDs may also be assigned a wide variety of special duties at the discretion of Department management, including support duties in the Emergency Operations Center or at Tactical Command Posts..

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS: A high school diploma or GED is required. Applicants will undergo a multi-part Dispatcher Screening Process. Applicants must have the ability to touch-type at least 30 WPM (net of errors). A typing test will be administered. Applicants must also pass additional tests and a thorough background and criminal history review.

Candidates must have interest in, and be suitable for, work in a combined police, fire, and EMS dispatch center. Also required is maturity of judgment and the following abilities: ability to learn and understand the basic field operations and procedures of the police and fire departments, to manage police-fire dispatch operations and support units and field commanders requesting resources and support actions, to use various technical systems including computerized dispatch, signaling, alarm monitoring, telephone console, and general personal computer equipment,. Additionally candidates should possess a polite but authoritative telephone voice and manner, as well as the ability to understand and skillfully manage emergency and business callers. Must have the ability to be understood clearly by others over radio and telephone circuits, to accurately record the detail of telephone and radio conversations, and to remain calm under the pressure of emergencies, peaking workloads, and multiple (simultaneous) responsibilities.

PREFERRED: Detailed knowledge of the City of Cambridge with demonstrated knowledge of Cambridge streets and locations strongly preferred. Demonstrated experience in one of several areas of public safety and/or public safety dispatching including one year of past experience as a public safety, police, fire or EMS dispatcher, a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or paramedic. Applicants with one year of past experience as a police/fire alarm or telecommunications system installer, call center operator, or dispatcher in non-public safety agency or private agency will also be considered. Certification from the Massachusetts 911 Department’s (formerly Statewide Emergency Telecommunications Board) Public Safety Communications 5-Week Academy or CJIS certification from the Massachusetts Criminal History Systems Board is strongly preferred. A bachelor’s or associate’s degree in Criminal Justice or a related field is also preferred. The ability to speak Spanish, Portuguese or Haitian-Creole is also preferred, in addition to English.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: Tasks involve extensive keyboarding on multiple keyboards and attentive listening to telephone calls and radio transmissions (often at a low volume level and of poor audio quality on a department-supplied headset or handset). Candidates must have the ability to exert very moderate physical effort typically involving some combination of stooping, kneeling, and lifting, as well as carrying, pushing and pulling objects and materials of moderate weight, twelve to twenty pounds. Candidates must be able to work any shift assignments, including nights, weekends, holidays, overtime (both forced and scheduled), and up to 16-hour shifts.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: General call center-type environment with air conditioning and fluorescent lighting. Noise level can be high as the office is active with phone calls and equipment sounds.

RATE: See Salary and Benefits section

APPLICATION PROCEDURE : Internal applicants submit a job bidding form and 2 copies of both a resume and letter of interest; external applicants submit 2 copies of both a resume and letter of interest by 5PM on the closing date to: Personnel Dept, Room 309, City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02139. Fax 617-349-4312, Email:


Contact Information

125 Sixth Street
Cambridge MA 02142


Hours of Service

Emergencies: 24/7 - 911
Administrative Office: M-F 8:30-5
Business Phone: 617-349-6911

Cambridge Alert Network

Cambridge Alert Network