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POLICE COMMUNICATIONS OPERATOR
(9-1-1 / CRIMESTOP and POLICE DISPATCHER)
1. THIS IS YOUR TEST NOTICE and will be the only notice you will receive of the exam.
2. Registration from the exam is required before admittance. Please pre-register at
3. Bring to the scheduled examination:
a. Photo identification
4. THE WRITTEN EXAM IS SCHEDULED FOR THE FOLLOWING DATES:
Date Check-In Start time
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 1:00 p.m. 1:45 p.m.
DURATION: 2 hours, 30 minutes.
LOCATION: City of Phoenix Personnel Department, 135 N. 2nd Avenue
Located one block South of Van Buren Street, off 2nd Ave.
First Floor Test Room (across the lobby from the Application Office)
4. PARKING ARRANGEMENTS are your responsibility. There are several public parking lots nearby.
The closest lot is on Second Avenue, north of Van Buren Street. Cost range from $5.00 to $7.00 per
day. Because you will NOT be able to leave the test room until you have completed the testing
process, caution should be exercised in using metered parking. Parking meters cost $1.50 per hour
from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
5. PLEASE BE ON TIME. If you arrive late for the exam you will not be admitted.
6. Requests for REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS for disabled individuals should be directed to the
Personnel Department immediately. Phone: 602-495-5703 / Voice, or 602-261-8687 / TT.
Last Revised 04/15/09
Police Communications Operator
Answers to the test questions that are derived from this guide must be based on
the information contained in this guide. Answers based on knowledge of
previous study guides, or any other source, even though technically correct, will
not be accepted as correct if they differ from this study guide. Study material for
the test begins with page 1.
The information in this study guide may or may not reflect current laws, rules, and
regulations. A portion of the written exam is derived from this study guide. Answers
based on knowledge of law enforcement, administration of justice, criminology courses,
previous study guides, or any other source, even though technically correct, WILL NOT
BE ACCEPTED as correct, IF they differ from this study guide.
Do NOT bring this study guide to the exam site.
DO NOT LOSE THIS STUDY GUIDE
THIS IS THE ONLY COPY YOU WILL RECEIVE
Last Revised 02/06
CITY OF PHOENIX, ARIZONA
Study Guide for Police Communications Operator
TABLE OF CONTENTS
**PLEASE NOTE: All subjects, including General Information, are testable.
General Information ....................................................................... 1
Police Terminology .......................................................................... 9
Phonetic Alphabet .......................................................................... 13
Domestic Violence Laws ................................................................ 14
Radio Codes .................................................................................. 18
Hundred Blocks .............................................................................. 20
Beat and Precinct Boundary Map .................................................. 21
Spelling .......................................................................................... 22
Any information in this Study Guide,
beginning with this page, may appear on the written test.
Last Revised 02/06
Thank you for your interest in a career with the City of Phoenix as a Police Communications
Operator. This study guide will teach you more about a rewarding career that allows you to
serve your community and make a difference in lives of citizens needing your help. The
purpose of this study guide is to:
give you a better understanding of the job for which you are considering
provide a basis from which the Personnel Department can test your ability to
understand and recall information similar to what is found on the job
BASIC JOB CHARACTERISTICS
As a Police Communications Operator, you may be cross-trained in two main job functions:
9-1-1 and Radio. While initially your training may focus on 911 Crime Stop, eventually you
will have the opportunity to train in the Communication Dispatcher area. Some of the main
characteristics of these jobs are as follows:
Use common, everyday language in talking with citizens.
Handle single situations from anywhere in the city (one phone call at a time).
Focus on gathering information.
Process calls by prioritizing the urgency/seriousness of the situation.
Get involved in the initial stages of a situation.
Types of situations vary considerably (police reports, complaints, information referral,
crimes in progress).
Types of callers vary considerably (confused, hysterical, lonely, helpful, angry).
Determining proper agency; directing non-emergency caller to correct agency.
Use concise, coded language in assisting police officers, sergeants, etc.
Monitor and track the status of multiple units and situations occurring simultaneously
within one precinct.
Focus on giving information.
Dispatch calls according to priority.
Monitors situations to their conclusion.
Officers depend on the radio dispatcher for quick, accurate information.
Status of situations can change drastically in minutes or seconds.
Typically work 8-10 hour shifts.
Both job functions require quick decision making; ability to coordinate multiple tasks at one
time, e.g., type, listen, respond; professionalism; courtesy; common sense; and the ability to
maintain control of a situation. Also, both use the same codes and bureau policies.
It is typical for a new employee to work evening, weekends and holidays shifts in the
beginning of their career. An operator may work several years on “swing” or “graveyard”
shift before having enough seniority to be assigned to a day shift. However, many
employees who remain on “swing” and “graveyard” shift for extended durations do so by
The steps in the hiring process are handled over the course of several weeks or months.
1) A written, multiple choice exam conducted by the Personnel Department.
Be advised that the questions based on this study guide are detailed in nature and
require fairly comprehensive knowledge of the areas covered in the study guide. Some
examples of the types of questions asked and their level of difficulty are:
Example Question #1
According to the standard radio code in the Communications Bureau, an accident
without injuries should be entered as
Example Question #2
When a citizen is not satisfied with your answer as a 9-1-1 Operator, Communications
Bureau policy states that
A. the caller should be told to call back
B. the call should be disconnected
C. the call will be transferred to your supervisor
D. an officer will be dispatched to see the citizen
(Answers: #1-D, #2-C)
After taking the exam, you may review the examination booklet and the answer key during
the first three (3) working days following the examination. You may not review your own
paper during this three-day period. All appeals concerning test items must be filed during
this first three work-day period. All appeals must be documented.
You may review your own test paper during the first five working days from the date final
notices are mailed. During this five-day period, you may review the answer key and your test
paper, but not the examination booklet.
2) The next phase of the process begins with a computer simulator exercise that
measures your ability to simultaneously type, listen, and speak clearly into a headset.
It measures decision making abilities, reading comprehension skills, prioritization skills
and following directions. If you successfully complete the simulator portion you will be
invited for a panel interview.
3) Formal completion of a background investigation form and a polygraph exam. This
will require you to report an extensive amount of information over the course of your
Due to the sensitive nature of positions within the Police Department, all applicants must
successfully complete a polygraph and background investigation. The qualities of honesty,
integrity, moral standards, stability and criminal record are of the greatest concern.
Listed below are general factors for disqualification. These factors should not be considered
as totally inclusive for condition of employment.
Conviction of a felony
Dishonorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces
A DUI arrest in the past 36 months, or more than one DUI arrest
Driving record and license suspensions will be reviewed as required
Breach of integrity
Conviction of misdemeanor within the last year
Any outstanding criminal charges
Other factors (i.e., poor driving record, immoral conduct, criminal activity, dishonesty) will
also be assessed and may lead to disqualification.
Keep in mind that these are minimum standards; some areas may require more in-depth
review of specific circumstances before determination is made as to whether a candidate is
qualified. Individuals should consider all these factors when applying for a position with the
City of Phoenix Police Department.
If You are Selected for a Position:
Applicants who successfully pass all necessary requirements and are selected for the
position of Police Communications Operator, will be scheduled to attend a five-week training
class. This class will be held at 100 E. Elwood in the Communications Bureau. Employees
are required to attend all classes which cover instruction in beat maps, radio codes,
questioning and listening techniques, Title 13, Title 28, priority of incoming calls, CAD
functions, etc. During the course of training you will sit with operators on different shifts. All
information and worksheets will be provided by the Bureau.
City of Phoenix Employees' Code of Ethics:
The Employees' Code of Ethics states the general standards for the ethical action and
behavior on the job by City employees. As City employees, we recognize that we are
ultimately responsible to the public for our work. It is our responsibility to provide efficient
services by performing our duties promptly and courteously. We must not only be honest
and fair, but we must also avoid situations which give an impression of dishonesty or
This code only summarizes the major ethical standards. It is frequently necessary to consult
administrative regulations, personnel rules and departmental directives to determine whether
a particular action is allowable. Employees who have doubts about an action should discuss
it with their supervisor or bring it to the attention of Management Audit Control at 261-8999.
As a citizen, you can and should exercise your right to register and vote in all elections. As a
private citizen, you also can express your opinion of candidates for all offices and on other
You can actively participate in campaign activities for candidates for non-City offices and for
non-City election issues.
You cannot be involved in any way in political activities while on duty. Avoid involvement in
political activity while in City uniform, on or off duty, because use of the uniform implies
official City endorsement for the political activity.
You cannot participate in any way in campaign activities for the office of Mayor or City
If you are a full-time employee and have been in the service of the City for six months, you
are entitled to annual vacation leave at the rate of:
8 hours per month (12 days per year) - through 5 years of service.
10 hours per month - 6th through 10th year of service.
11 hours per month - 11th through 15th year of service.
13 hours per month - 16th through 20th year of service.
15 hours per month - 21st year of service and thereafter.
Your department head will be responsible for scheduling vacation periods. Leaves will be
allowed when it is most convenient to all concerned. You will be allowed to have no more
than two times your annual vacation accrual at the end of the last pay period of the year.
Vacation credits which exceed this sum will become void.
Sick Leave with Pay:
You, as an employee will be provided sick leave so you will not be seriously handicapped
financially if you are unable to work because of illness. You should not regard sick leave in
the same manner as annual vacation leave. Sick leave is not something you can schedule
like annual vacation leave, even though provisions may sound similar.
Employees who have been with the City for 30 days may be granted sick leave with full pay
at the rate of 10 hours for every month of paid service. If additional sick leave is needed
during the first six months of service, accumulated vacation credits may be used. Unused
sick leave can be accumulated without limit.
You will be allowed to take sick leave only when you are too ill to perform your duties, or
when a member of your immediate family has an emergency due to accident or illness.
For sick leave of three days or less, you will be required to fully explain in writing the reason
for your absence. In some instances, you will be required to provide medical verification of
your need to be absent. For sick leave of more than three days, you may be required to
furnish a certificate from a doctor. Only an illness which would damage your health or
endanger the safety of other employees if you were on the job is sufficient to be granted sick
All requests for sick leave will be carefully reviewed, and sick leave pay will be allowed only if
the reasons are adequate. Just because you may not have taken sick leave for a few
months does not mean that you are entitled to take time off because of a slight headache or
some minor disability. Also, just calling your supervisor to say you are sick does not
guarantee that you will be paid for the lost time. The judgment on payment is made when
the written leave request form is reviewed.
The probationary period is extremely important to you. Before becoming a regular employee
of the City, you are required to complete a probationary period of twelve months of
satisfactory service. This probationary period is actually a part of the testing process.
During this period you will be carefully observed in the performance of your duties. You will
be rated three times during the probationary period - at the third, sixth and eleventh month.
Supervisors will instruct you on all the requirements of the position. They will do everything
they can to help you become a satisfactory employee. At least 20 days before completion of
your probationary period, your supervisor will submit a performance rating of your work to the
Personnel Director. You must earn a satisfactory rating before you can become a regular
The probationary period becomes important again in the following instances: if you are
promoted to a higher class or transferred or demoted to a class in which you have not
worked before, or if you are reinstated after leaving City employment. You will be required to
serve a twelve-month probationary period and receive a satisfactory rating to become a
regular, full-time employee.
Medical Coverage for you and your immediate family (optional)
Child care subsidies (Flexrap)
Employee Assistance Programs (free, confidential counseling services)
Free/Discounted Bus Fares
Prepaid Legal Counseling (optional)
Arizona Federal Credit Union Membership
Even after you have successfully completed your probationary period, performance reports
continue to affect your status. Once each year, your supervisor will conduct a performance
review on your work. You will be appraised on the quality and quantity of your work, your
work habits and relationships with other people, your initiative and dependability and your
observance of working hours. These performance appraisals are very important appraisals
and are very important to your career with the City. They have a direct influence on whether
or not you get periodic merit pay increases, and may affect your chances for promotion.
Disciplinary Action and Appeal:
Any employee of the City of Phoenix may be removed, demoted, suspended without pay,
transferred to another position in the same class or reprimanded for any of the following
1. Incompetence or inefficiency.
2. Offensive conduct or conduct unbecoming an employee of the City.
3. Physical or mental ailments which incapacitate an employee from proper
performance of duty.
4. Insubordination or violation of any official order or regulation.
5. Accepting bribes in the course of work.
6. Failure to pay just debts.
7. Conviction of a serious crime.
8. Negligent or willful damage or waste of public property.
9. Inexcusable absence without being granted leave.
11. Possession of or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs on the job.
12. Participation in prohibited political activities.
13. Or any other activity which is not compatible with good public service.
Any employee with permanent employment rights who is suspended, demoted, or
discharged has the right of appeal and hearing. When such action is taken against an
employee, he/she may file an answer and appeal with the Civil Service Board within fourteen
calendar days after the disciplinary order is personally delivered.
After the appeal is filed, the Civil Service Board will determine if the appeal should be
allowed and will set a date for a public or private hearing. The employee may appear in
person at the hearing and may be represented by a lawyer. After hearing all the evidence
the Board may modify, uphold, or revoke the disciplinary action taken. If an appeal is not
filed within the time allowed after the charges are delivered, the Civil Service Board will
uphold the charges and enter its action in its official records.
Employee Assistance Program - Counseling and Guidance:
Professionally trained counselors are available to provide free counseling about any problem
that concerns you. Some of the kinds of concerns that can be handled are job, marital,
family, alcohol, drugs, financial, medical, legal, emotional, and career concerns. All
counseling will be treated confidentially and will not become a part of your personnel record.
This service is also available for your immediate family. If you plan to have counseling on
City time, arrange your appointment with the approval of your immediate supervisor. There
is no need to explain the nature of your problem to your supervisor. Contact the Employee
Assistance Program Coordinator in the Personnel Department at 602-262-7216.
Understanding the terms used by officers, other operators, and citizens is an important part
of properly assessing and dispatching calls for service. Some of these terms can be
considered jargon or slang. Following is a list of common terms found on the job:
965 OPERATOR - Officer who can conduct a GCI exam for drugs/alcohol
A.P.S. - Arizona Public Service
A.S.A.P. - as soon as possible
A.T.F. - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
BAILED OUT - subject jumped out of car and ran
BONDOUT - prisoner who is going to post bail and be released
BEEN MADE/BURNED - undercover officer's ID is known
BIKE - motorcycle
BIKERS - motorcycle riders
B.O.J. - by other jurisdiction
BOOKING - booking prisoner into jail
BREAKING UP - radio transmissions are not being received clearly
BUSTED - arrested
C.C.W. - carrying concealed weapon
C.O. - civilian observer
C.L.D. - citation in lieu of detention
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CRACK, ROCK - smokeable form of cocaine
D.E.B. - Drug Enforcement Bureau
DIXS - detectives
D.O.A. - dead on arrival
D.O.B. - date of birth
D.O.C. - Department of Corrections
D.P.S. - Department of Public Safety
DRIVEBY - shots fired from a moving vehicle
E.O.C. - Emergency Operations Center
EQUIPMENT - Police vehicle
E.R. - Emergency Room
E.T.A. - estimated time of arrival
F.A.A. - Federal Aviation Administration
F.B.I. - Federal Bureau of Investigation
F.I. - Field Interrogation (Form 36 card)
FILE STOP - notation put in police record; File Stops are confirmed
by R&I Bureau
FLEUR - device used by aircraft to check for heat sources
F.O.J. - from other jurisdiction
FRONT DESK - Information Desk at main station
FUGITIVE - wanted in other state
GAS WASH/WASHDOWN - Fire Department needed to wash gas down
G.C.I./B.A. - test used to determine blood alcohol content
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G.I.B. - General Investigations Bureau
GOT THE EYE - in view (on a code 5)
HALIGAN TOOL - tool used for rescue work
HIT - subject or item wanted
H.G.N. - Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (a test for detecting drug/ alcohol
HOBBLES - nylon rope used for legs and hand restraint
HOOK - wrecker
ICE, CRYSTAL - smokeable methamphetamine
J.C.C. - Juvenile Corrections Center
J.P. - Justice of the Peace
JUMPED ON - assaulted
JUMPER - person attempting suicide by jumping
LADDER - Fire Department ladder truck
MARQUIS - test for narcotics
M.D.T.'s - Mobile Digital Terminal (Police car computer)
MEDICS - paramedics
MOTOR - solo motor unit
NEED LADDER - Fire Department ladder truck
NUMBER 1 SITUATION - probable cause for arrest
NUMBER 9's - citations
ONE FROM LIST - contract wrecker (926)
ONE ON ONE - suspect/witness I.D.
ONE ROLL - fingerprints
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O.V. - officer just witnessed the crime
PAGE 2 - additional charges filed on a subject already in custody
P.C. - probable cause
P.O. - probation officer
PRE DRAWN - map of particular intersection
RESTRAINTS - leather straps used to restrain prisoners
RINGER - audible alarm
ROBBED - armed robbery, burglary, theft, etc.
ROLLOVER - accident involving overturned vehicle
R.P. - responsible party
SCOTT REAGENT - narcotics test
SEIZURE - impound a vehicle; subject having convulsions
SILENT - silent alarm
SLIM JIM - device used to open locked vehicle
SMASH & GRAB - broke out window, grabbed items and ran
S.O./M.C.S.O. - Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
S.R.P. - Salt River Project
STRIPPED - vehicle stripped
TECH - radio or computer technician
THIRTY-SIX - field interrogation (or form 36)
THREE WHEELER - Police 3-wheeled motorcycle
TILL TAP - grab money from register
DISPATCH AN ANIMAL - to shoot an animal
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TRAFFIC BOX KEY - key used to open traffic signal control box
WAGON/WAGON - Police paddy wagon
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The phonetic alphabet is often used for jobs that rely mostly on telephones and radios.
Its purpose is to avoid confusion when speaking about letters in the alphabet. For
example, a license plate that reads "ABC-123" should be spoken into a radio as "Adam
Bravo Charles 123." Following is a complete list of the words that should be used to
describe letters found on license plates, apartment addresses, etc.
A = ADAM N = NORA
B = BRAVO O = OCEAN
C = CHARLES P = PAUL
D = DAVID Q = QUEBEC
E = EDWARD R = ROBERT
F = FRANK S = SAM
G = GEORGE T = TOM
H = HENRY U = UNION
I = INDIA V = VICTOR
J = JOHN W = WILLIAM
K = KING X = X-RAY
L = LINCOLN Y = YOUNG
M = MARY Z = ZEBRA
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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWS
Police Communication Operators must be familiar with many of the laws that the Police
Department must enforce. This knowledge is used to properly question citizens, assess
situations, and provide appropriate assistance.
One of the main types of calls that operators receive relates to Domestic Violence.
Following are some relevant definitions and procedures for handling such calls.
DEFINITION ARS 13-3601 - Specific criminal acts committed between persons of the
opposite sex residing or having resided in the same household, or persons related to
one another by blood or marriage if they are related to the defendant in one of the
Acts are any of the following:
Assault - Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing physical injury to another
Criminal Damage - Recklessly defacing or damaging property of another person.
Custodial Interference - Knowingly taking, enticing, or keeping from lawful custody any
child less than 18 years of age or incompetent entrusted by authority of law to the
custody of another person or institution.
Disorderly Conduct - Intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood by fighting;
violent or seriously disruptive behavior; unreasonable noise; abusive language; or
recklessly handling, displaying or discharging a deadly weapon or dangerous
Endangerment - Recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of
imminent death or physical injury.
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Imprisonment - Applied when one person knowingly restrains another person against
Threatening/Intimidation - Threatens/Intimidates by word or conduct to cause physical
injury to another person or serious damage to property of another.
Kidnapping - Knowingly restraining another person with intent to:
1) Hold victim for ransom or involuntary servitude.
2) Inflict death, physical injury or a sexual offense on the victim.
3) Place the victim or a third person in reasonable apprehension of
imminent physical injury to the victim or such third person.
Victim does not have to be taken from one place to another. A person
can be kidnapped and held hostage in his/her own home.
Criminal Trespass - Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on any real property
after a reasonable request by the owner to leave.
Domestic violence is the most dangerous situation in which an officer can be involved.
The victim is often physically or psychologically abused. The victim lives in constant
fear, and often will not leave home, is not allowed any social life, and many times is
prevented from working "outside the home."
Threatened harm to children or family is the key explanation why victims continue to live
in the abuse situation.
Many homicides are the result of domestic violence.
- 20 - 25% of all homicides that occur in Phoenix are attributed to domestic
- Domestic violence is the primary known cause of homicides nationwide.
PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CALLS
Initial receipt of the call:
Different types of complaint demeanor include:
Hysterical or screaming
Saying nothing at all -- open line
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1. Obtain address:
Name of apartments
2. Determine the type of dispute
Determine the type of weapon being used and where it is now.
- A weapon is any item that can cause injury or death.
If no weapons are involved at time call is received:
- determine if anyone has been injured and if they need medics
- if paramedic is needed use Buddy System to respond paramedics
4. Determine the location and description of the suspect.
5. Determine the location of the complainant now.
If victim is being threatened, ask if he/she can leave the house and
meet the officers at a safer place.
6. Determine if anyone else is at location and their location now.
7. Description of suspect vehicle and direction of travel if vehicle has left.
Very important for broadcast as officers are responding.
8. Name of complainant
relationship -- husband, wife, brother, sister
9. Call Priority
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- When one spouse/party is hitting, beating, striking or
harming in any physical manner the other spouse/party.
- When any weapon or item is being used that could cause injury or
- When one party is trying to break in through window or door.
- Verbal argument, no physical abuse has occurred, or the suspect
or victim has left.
- Domestic violence calls are never priority 3 and can never be
canceled once the call has been made reporting the dispute.
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SELECTED RADIO CODES
101 Woman in the Car
211 Armed Robbery
312 Child Neglect
390 Drunk (Disturbing, Down, In Car)
415F Domestic Violence
417 Subject Threatening
418 Civil Matter - Stand By
491 Kidnapping (Not Sexually Motivated)
601 Missing Person
647 Suspicious Person, Check Activity
651 Loose Animals
900 Check Welfare
901 Injured or Sick Person
906 Officer Needs Assistance, Potentially Hazardous Situation
928 Found Property
961 Accident - No Injuries
10-4 Affirmative (OK)
10-44 Does not conform with rules and regulations
10-87 Broken water mains
10-92 Wagon Want
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Below is a list of some of the most frequently misspelled words in police-related work:
accessory laboratory surveillance
accident laceration suspicious
acquainted license syringe
adjacent maintenance tetanus
affidavit malicious transient
aggravate maneuver traumatic
alibi melancholy unconscious
apparently memorandum vandalize
arraigned mentality vicinity
arrests methamphetamine warrant
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CITY OF PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT PATROL DIVISION
Each street has a number assigned called a “hundred block.” This number
indicates where the street is found on the map in regards to a north, south,
east, or west position.
Pecos Rd 17200S
Warner Rd 12400S
Baseline Rd 7600S
Buckeye Rd 1200S
Van Buren St 300N
McDowell Rd 1600N
Osborn Rd 3400N
Camelback Rd 5000N
Dunlap Ave 9000N
Thunderbird Rd 13800N
Deer Valley Rd 21800N
Carefree Highway 34600N
NOTE: The Phoenix Police Department is divided into precincts. Precincts are
then divided into beats. On the map, you will find the name of the precincts and
the beat number and boundaries located within the precinct.
All beats located within the same precinct begin with the same number. For
example, all beats located in the Cactus Park Precinct begin with the number 9.
(A precinct map will be provided at the exam)
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The following is actual classroom material:
(Not part of the written exam)
1. WHERE IS THE PROBLEM? Exact Location
2. WHAT HAPPENED? What type of crime are you reporting?
3. WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? Exact time frame
4. WAS ANYONE HURT? (if applicable)
5. WEAPONS INVOLVED? (if applicable)
6. WHAT MANNER DID THEY LEAVE? On foot, in a vehicle?
7. WHERE DID THE SUSPECT GO? Direction of travel or place last seen?
8. WHO DID IT? Describe the vehicle then the suspect
9. WHAT DID THE SUSPECT GET? Type and amount
10. WHO IS CALLING? Name, location and phone number
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