Local 9-1-1 History
Emergency Response Center
In November 1978, The El Paso County Commissioners established an Emergency Response Center for some communities in Teller County and for El Paso County. The system was a basic 911 configuration, which provided for only 1 Public Safety Answering Point. During the 1st year of operation, the center responded to 60,500 emergency calls for service. During 1988, the Emergency Response Center responded to 84,666 emergency calls.
El Paso County funded 100% of the cost of maintaining the Emergency Response Center. The 1989 budget for the Emergency Response Center amounted to $421,235. The center was physically located in the basement of the old Colorado Springs Police Building at:
224 East Kiowa Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
The system’s major defects were the inability of the caller to contact directly the appropriate agency in an emergency and the agencies’ inability to provide immediate assistance to the caller if the call is prematurely disconnected or the caller is unable to communicate emergency information. A call placed on the basic 911 system had to be answered at the Emergency Response Center and then be transferred to the appropriate city or county response agency. In some instances those few minutes required to ascertain the nature of the emergency, location of the emergency, appropriate agency, and transfer time could have made substantial difference in the eventual outcome of the emergency.
Enhanced 911 System
Members of the emergency services agencies throughout El Paso and Teller County began to see the need to progress from a basic 911 system to a system that is called Enhanced 911. The enhanced system has been designed to reduce or eliminate most of the problems by using emerging technologies such as:
- Selective Routing: Automatically routes calls to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), greatly reducing the number of out-of-jurisdiction calls.
- Automatic Number Identification (ANI): Provides a visual display of the calling number on a 911 display within the PSAPs.
- Automatic Location Identification (ALI): Provides a visual display of the name and address associated with the calling telephone number. This information, along with the appropriate police, fire, and EMS response agency is displayed on a 911 computer terminal within the Public Safety Answering Point.
- Selective Transfer: Allows call-takers at a Public Safety Answering Point to transfer an incoming 911 call to another PSAP with the push of a single button. When a call is transferred, all display information along with the calling party is transferred.
- Security and Redundancy: The 911 system recognizes the critical nature of all 911 calls and the need for redundancy and security. The enhanced system allows for the automatic switching of calls to another center, should an emergency arise in the original receiving center.
Emergency Response Organizations Established
Realizing the importance of implementing an Enhanced 911 System, work was undertaken to bring together all the emergency response organizations within El Paso County and Teller County. The first undertaking was the creation of an Intergovernmental Agreement that would be signed by some 31 agencies creating the El Paso-Teller County Emergency Telephone Service Authority.
In 1990, all the signatures were obtained and this separate Colorado Government Entity was created. Colorado Revised Statutes §29-11-101 through 105 guide the operation of this Emergency Telephone Service Authority, which has become more commonly known as the El Paso-Teller County Enhanced 911 Authority Board.
The Colorado Revised Statutes allowed for the Authority to collect a telephone tariff, not to exceed $0.70 per month per telephone line, to pay for the installation, and continuous operation of the Enhanced 911 System. Collection of that tariff started in 1992 and has continued since that time. The Statutes also required the Authority Board to set the tariff for the coming year by September of the preceding year.
Members of the El Paso-Teller County Enhanced 911 Authority were chosen and appointed by the El Paso County Commissioners following the requirements as set forth in the Intergovernmental Agreement. Meetings were held monthly as the Authority began to plot the future of the Enhanced 911 System in the 2 counties.
As was required in the Intergovernmental Agreement, a technical committee was created, with representatives from all the agencies identified as PSAPs within the IGA. This committee began to review the equipment of the various vendors in preparation of making recommendations to the Authority. The Authority members quickly realized the size and scope of this project, and a Request For Proposal (RFP) was issued for a consultant that could manage the installation of this project.
Installation of the System
On the March 25, 1992, the El Paso-Teller County Authority entered into contract with RAM Communications Consultants, Inc. (RAM) to complete the installation of the Enhanced 911 System within the 2 counties. RAM went about gathering information required to prepare and issue a RFP for Installation of an Enhanced 911 System. There were 3 companies that responded with bid proposals for this project.
American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) was selected as the successful vendor and on August 2, 1993. Then Chairman of the Board, Sheriff Bernard Barry, signed the contract. Installation of equipment began on September 1, 1994 and continued through December 1994. Currently there are eight PSAPs in El Paso and Teller Counties.