911 celebrates 50th anniversary

Sarpy County

911 celebrates 50th anniversary

February 16, 2018

The 911 system that we know today started on Feb. 16, 1968, when Rankin Fite, speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, placed the first 911 call in Haleyville, Alabama. Congressman Tom Bevill answered the call on red phone in Haleyville’s police station.

911 operations slowly spread across the county in the next 20 years. By 1987, half of U.S. residents had access to the system. That number jumped to 98.9% by December 2017, according to the National Emergency Number Association.

In that time, technology advanced well beyond the original red phone. Enhanced 911 provided dispatchers a caller’s name, address and telephone number. Sarpy County became the first agency in Nebraska to receive Enhanced 911 in June 1987.

In 1995, the Sarpy County Sheriff's Communications Division merged with the Bellevue Police Department's Dispatch Center, creating Sarpy County Consolidated Communications, a single entity that could receive and dispatch all law enforcement, fire department and EMS calls.

In 2000, Sarpy County’s Consolidated Communications Center began using a Computer Aided Dispatch system designed by Printrak International, a Motorola Company. Douglas and Washington counties also use this system, which allows for better communication between emergency agencies in the region.

Sarpy County added Text-to-911 in 2017, allowing people to send emergency text messages to the Communications Center. The National Emergency Number Association estimates that 240 million 911 calls are made every year in the United States, 80% of which are made on cellphones.

Learn more about Sarpy County 911