JEFFERSON COUNTY 9-1-1 DISPATCH
By: Bill Haggard
The Jefferson County 9-1-1 Dispatch inception began January 1, 1993, when the agency took its first 9-1-1 call and began providing E9-1-1 and dispatch services to the community. The collaborative hard work and efforts of citizens along with emergency personnel made the development of this service possible. The agency opened with a staff of twenty-two personnel.
Chief Joe Wingbermuehle placed the first official 911 call to the agency. During his life, Chief Joe was instrumental in establishing the 911 service we have today. The Jefferson County 9111 Dispatch Center is dedicated in honor as the “Chief Joe Wingbermuehle Dispatch Center”.
The agency has grown to 36 full-time employees providing several emergency services. The services include: E911, dispatching emergency and public safety dispatching, Code Red weather alert, addressing/GIS mapping, public relations and training. The calls for service have expanded along with the growth of the county. Since opening its doors in 1993, the calls for service have grown to over 105,562 in 2010.
Jefferson County 9-1-1 Dispatch currently dispatches for five police agencies, 15 fire agencies, four ambulance districts as well as, Jefferson County Emergency Management, Jefferson County Haz-Mat and Jefferson County Animal Control. Jefferson County 9-1-1 Dispatch has three public safety answering points (PSAPs) within our network – Arnold Police Department, Crystal City Police Department and De Soto Police Department.
Jefferson County 9-1-1 Dispatch was initially funded through a 15% surcharge on the base rate of each resident’s landline phone. The advent of cellular technology resulted in an increased call volume and a decreased revenue. Beginning in 1994, the operation of the 9-1-1 system was funded by the 15% surcharge and fees assessed to each agency receiving dispatching service.
In April 2009, the citizens of Jefferson County passed a half-cent sales tax to fund the 9-1-1 system and repealed the surcharge. The new funding mechanism allows Jefferson County 9-1-1 Dispatch to continue providing E911 and dispatching. The funding also allowed for the ability to locate 911 cell phone callers, Code Red (reverse 911 system), an interoperability communications with eight area counties and allowing for the update of our customers’ radios to a mandated 2013 compliance.