Emergency Communications 911 Logo


Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

 History of 9-1-1 in California


The very first 9-1-1 service in the nation was implemented in Haleyville, Alabama in February 1968. The first 9-1-1 system in California was installed in the City of Gustine, in Merced County, in March 1970. This system was designed and installed by Art McDole, head of Communications for Monterey County, and Leah Senitte and Bill Bradenburg of the State Telecommunications Division of the Department of General Services. In 1971-72 the first countywide 9-1-1 system was installed in California, right here in Monterey County.

In 1972, Assembly Bill 515 was passed, mandating that 9-1-1 be implemented statewide as a universal emergency number in California. The State Telecommunications Division, 9-1-1 Program Office was created and charged with the responsibility for implementation of 9-1-1 throughout California. As of December 16, 1985, statewide implementation of Basic 9-1-1 was complete and a program to upgrade the public safety answering points (PSAPs) to Enhanced 9-1-1 had already begun.

Enhanced 9-1-1 provides for the routing of a landline 9-1-1 call to the proper law enforcement agency along with Automatic Location Identification (ALI) and Automatic Number Identification (ANI). With Enhanced 9-1-1 the call taker receives the caller's address and telephone number they are calling from. In January 1993, The State 9-1-1 Program Office completed implementation of statewide Enhanced 9-1-1.

The on-going advances in the communications technology are continuing to drive the State’s 9-1-1 Program Office to meet the needs of the citizens in California. Today, this not only includes the delivery of a landline 9-1-1 call to the appropriate response agency but it includes the research, development and implementation of a wireless 9-1-1 system that can deliver a wireless 9-1-1 call to the appropriate response agency. Today most wireless 9-1-1 calls are routed to the closest California Highway Patrol (CHP) center where they are interrogated and, when necessary, transferred to the appropriate response agency. Implementation of enhanced wireless 9-1-1 service is, however, underway with many cellular calls in Los Angeles and the San Francisco-San Jose Bay Area being routed directly to local PSAPs with ANI and Phase II location (ALI) technology.

Monterey County will begin receiving Enhanced wireless 9-1-1 calls in mid-2004, shortly after the move into our new consolidated Emergency Services Center. Direct routing of these calls to us (bypassing the overloaded CHP Center) is expected to increase our 9-1-1 call volume by about 5,000 to 10,000 calls per month. The addition of ANI/ALI to these calls will shorten the time needed to determine a caller’s location and dispatch the appropriate help.

For everything you ever wanted to know about the history of 9-1-1, visit the history file on the Dispatch Monthly Magazine website.