It has been 50 years since the first call in the United States using the 9-1-1 system was made by Alabama Speaker of the House, Rankin Fite. Over the years, 9-1-1 has evolved to incorporate the growing technology in communications.

In the 1980’s, Enhanced 9-1-1 or E9-1-1 began using technology similar to caller ID to deliver the caller’s telephone number and location. In the 1990’s, 9-1-1 made massive improvements to include the ability to route and provide call locations coming from cellular phones. Upcoming challenges for 9-1-1 centers include accepting texts and calls generated from Internet-based phones or applications.

The first 9-1-1 call in Linn County was placed in 1989. Linn County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center is the only 9-1-1 center in Linn County. ALL 9-1-1 calls in Linn County and Benton County (within the City limits of Albany) are routed to our center. The dispatchers will then determine where help is needed and route those calls to the appropriate fire and law enforcement services in Linn and surrounding counties.

Dispatchers routinely take calls from those in all types of distress. They answer calls where people are hysterical and try to gather enough information to send the appropriate fire, medical or law enforcement responders. They are often the first ones to bring calm to chaotic situations. Our dispatchers deal with callers experiencing a vast range of emotions and offer instruction on everything from CPR to delivering babies. They have to know how to calm these distraught callers in order to make critical emergency situations safer for our responding deputies.

In 2017, our dispatchers answered 55,903 calls through 9-1-1. They do an amazing job for us here at the Sheriff’s Office.