Become a Dispatcher

Do You Have What It Takes To Be One Of The Finest?

Thank you for your interest in employment with the Pasadena Police Department. You are taking the first step in what could lead to an exciting and rewarding career with a World Class law enforcement agency. We are looking for committed and conscientious people to serve in both sworn and non-sworn positions. The following is the hiring process for becoming a Police Specialist V also known as a dispatcher.

The Process:


The first step is completing and turning in the application. During the recruitment applications can be picked up at Pasadena City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave., Room 146 (Human Resources) Pasadena, CA 91109 or by visiting the City’s web site at

Typing Test

A typing certificate, if dated within the past 12 months, may be submitted with your application indicating your ability operate a computer accurately at a speed of no less than 40 words a minute.

Written Test

The Pasadena Police Department uses the POST Entry-Level Dispatcher Selection Test Battery written test for their applicants. (POST is an acronym for Peace Officer Standards & Training, a division of the California Department of Justice) This test is designed to measure your aptitude for performing public safety dispatcher work. It measures general abilities that are normally developed over an extended period of time. It is not designed to measure job-specific knowledge or skills that are taught during training. The abilities measured are summarized below:

  • Verbal Ability: the ability to read, listen to information, identify facts, draw conclusions and to write clearly.
  • Reasoning: the ability to apply general rules to specific problems, attain logical answers and correctly follow rules to arrange things or actions in a certain order.
  • Memory: the ability to store and retrieve facts, details, and other information.
  • Perceptual Ability: the ability to quickly and accurately compare letters and numbers presented orally and in written form and to shift back and forth between two or more sources of information, both written and orally imparted, in performing a task.
The testing process is comprised of 11 brief tests. Each test is administered with its own set of instructions and is timed separately. The tests range from about 5 minutes to 15 minutes each. The entire battery takes about 2 ½ to 3 hours, including a short break.Six of the tests use a traditional paper, pencil and multiple-choice format. The remaining five tests require that you listen to information and then answer multiple-choice questions contained in a test booklet. Some of the tests require that you take notes while information is being presented. However, your notes will not be scored, so you may abbreviate your notes in any manner. Only your final answers marked on the answer sheet will be scored.

Oral Interview

Successful applicants will be invited to an oral interview. Oral interviews are typically conducted by a 3-person panel. This panel may consist of a Pasadena Police Department Communications Supervisor, a representative from the City’s Human Resource division and a Communications Supervisor from a neighboring city.

Polygraph Test

The next step for applicants continuing with the process is the polygraph test. Polygraph tests are used to determine whether past behavior includes actions that are inconsistent with the high standards of integrity required of this position.

Background Investigation

Applicants passing the above steps will undergo a thorough background investigation. The background investigation is based on the concept that past behavior is perhaps the best predictor of future performance. As a government agency the City of Pasadena incurs liability if no attempt is made to screen for these behaviors. Applicants should be aware the investigator may interview current and past employers as well as neighbors and relatives during this process.

Psychological Evaluation

Applicants will be evaluated by a City appointed psychologist to determine the mental fitness for performing dispatch functions. As part of the psychological evaluation applicants may complete a standardized psychological test, such as the MMPI (Minnesota Multi-Phasic Index).

Medical Examination

As the last step in the hiring process, applicants will be examined by a City appointed physician to determine physical fitness for performing dispatch functions.

Each of the above steps are exclusionary in nature. That is, you must successfully complete each step in order to progress to the next one. This can seem like a daunting and time consuming process, it is not, however, impossible to achieve. Successful candidates can speed the process by responding to appointments as scheduled.

We wish you the best of luck in your endeavor and look forward to working with you!