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Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What are the requirements for Communications Operator?
  • 18 years old and graduation from a standard senior high school or the equivalent
  • Must qualify for and obtain TLETS and TCIC/NCIC Terminal Operator certification within six (6) months of employment
  • Must qualify for and obtain Basic Telecommunicator Proficiency Certificate from Texas Commission on Law Enforcement within twelve (12) months of employment
  • Previous law enforcement experience is not necessary, but, helpful
  • Must be able to work individually with minimal supervision
  • Must have the ability to operate computers systems, speak clearly, perform multiple duties simultaneously, comprehend and process written and verbal directions
  • Skill in dealing with the public and other law enforcement personnel
  • Ability to operate computer systems
  • Must pass medical and psychological screening
  • Must pass polygraph examination
  • Ability to tolerate confinement to work area for duration of work shift
  • Ability to perform multiple duties simultaneously
  • Ability to comprehend and execute written and verbal instructions
  • Ability to tolerate and react to high stress situations and emergencies while maintaining composure

  2. What is the starting salary?

The starting salary for a probationary PCO is $2,601.96

After probation, a 1-year career progression - $2,775.08
PCO II at 2 years - $2,960.23
PCO III at 4 years - $3,214.2
PCO IV at 7 years - $3,429.22
PCO V at 10 years - $4,211.73
SR PCO at 16 years - $4,619.19


  3. How long does the hiring process take?

The process to join the DPS Communications Service is a lengthy one and may take several months, as it is very thorough. The process may be long, but becoming a part of the DPS Communications Team is well worth the wait.


  4. What is the Communications Applicant process?

Applications, Forms, Testing

  1. Online application - Your application will be reviewed and you will be notified by email to continue on to step 2 through 4 if you meet the minimum requirements.
  2. Print and complete Waiver (RC-99) (PDF) form. Your signature on this form must be witnessed by anyone who knows you or a notary.
  3. Print and complete the Background Investigation Questionnaire (RC-4A) (PDF) form. This form must be notarized by a notary.
  4. Print and complete the Self Evaluation Questionnaire (CO-103) (PDF) form. Your signature on this form should be witnessed by someone who knows you.
  5. All forms must be submitted with the required documents before you will be scheduled for testing (original or certified copy of your birth certificate or naturalization paperwork, current credit report, certified college Transcripts, DD-214 for military personnel only, certified High School transcripts, photo copy of Social Security Card, and photo copy of Driver's License) to the Communications Supervisor of the facility in which you're testing. You will receive the name and address of the supervisor in your notification email. Original documents or certified copies must be presented at testing. Failure to present documents at testing could result in not being tested.
  6. If you have not been issued a DD-214 you may provide a memorandum from your Commanding Officer or have your Commanding Officer complete the Department's Military Discharge Form (PDF).
  7. Certified copy of court disposition of all Class B and above charges ten (10) or more years old or Class C convictions involving family violence or official duties.
  8. Males 18-25 Proof of registration for the Selective Service.

CritiCall Test

  1. The tester for the location you've chosen will contact you to schedule a testing date and time.
  2. All CritiCall Testing must be scheduled within 30 days of submitting online application.
  3. For information on the CritiCall Test, please go to CritiCall

Exams, Reviews, Approval

  1. Polygraph Examination
  2. File Review
  3. Assessment Board
  4. File Review
  5. Conditional Job Offer
  6. Background Investigation
  7. Final Approval Review
  8. Approval Notification

  5. How much training is required?

After initial employment, DPS Communications personnel must complete CCTP (Communications Comprehensive Training Program), which includes study on different duties specific to the Communications Service, including radio, telephone, Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and telecommunications.

In addition to on-the-job training, a 40-hour Basic Communications School is required. Training is also provided for TLETS and TCIC ( for TCOLE licensing), as well as Omnixx, TDEx, DLS, MVD and EPIC. Employees must attend re-certification every 2 years at In-Service school. Required on-line training includes NIMS and the Incident Command System.

Personnel may also participate in field training with the CEOT, interoperability exercises and Highway Patrol Recruit Classes. Supervisory personnel are required to attend additional training as assigned or as required of their positions.


  6. How much sick leave can I earn a month?

Sick leave is earned at the rate of 8 hours per month and may be carried from year to year. A Sick Leave Pool is available to those who make a contribution to the pool.


  7. Are there any job openings, If so, where?

To see if there are any openings for Police Communications Operators in the State of Texas please follow this link.


  8. Is there a probation period after I'm hired?

Yes, there is a one (1) year probation period from the time of employment. After successful completion of the first year an employee will have passed the probation period and is entitled to a 1-year career progression salary increase.


  9. Is there a uniform policy? What is it?

A clothing policy is in place; shirts are provided by DPS to complement a formal, casual and field uniform. Employees are required to conform to the hair and jewelry standards.


  10. Can I earn Overtime?

On occasions when personnel are required to work overtime, it is submitted for payment at time-and-a-half.


  11. Can I earn Compensatory Time?

Holiday Time is earned when employees work on designated state and federal holidays observed by the State of Texas. Holiday Time must be used within a year after it is earned.


  12. Can I pre-qualify for Communications Operator?

Yes - see the pre-qualification questions.

  • Are you at least 18 years old?
  • If selected, are you willing to travel (at your own expense) for multiple pre-employment tests and interviews at a Texas Department of Public Safety location?
  • Are you able to work for extended periods of time for extended hours and/or for several days without a day off?
  • Are you able to work days, evenings, nights, weekends, holidays and rotating shifts?
  • Have you ever been denied employment with the Texas Department of Pbulic Safety?
  • This position requires the completion of a comprehensive background investigation including credit, employment, and reference checks and may include a home visit by a Department of Public Safety Trooper. Are you willing to participate in the comprehensive investigation if requested by the Texas Department of Public Safety?
  • Are you able and willing to work in a potentially high stress environment dealing with life safety?