Origin of 9-1-1 Service
The concept of an easy to remember emergency number began in England just before the Second World War. In 1958, this concept was introduced to the United States by the International Association of Fire Chiefs. This shortcut to emergency services was recognized as an important public safety innovation.
In 1968, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement recommended the establishment of an emergency number for that purpose and the numbers “9-1-1” were reserved by AT&T for that intent. Five years later the Office of Telecommunications Policy issued a national policy statement recognizing the benefits of 9-1-1 and encouraging nationwide adoption of the number.
9-1-1 Implementation in Ouachita Parish
The residents of Ouachita Parish voted to establish enhanced 9-1-1 in Ouachita Parish in November 1986. In order to fund 9-1-1 service, a surcharge was placed on each resident’s telephone bill. The voters approved a surcharge rate of 5% of the established telephone access line rate, but to date a 3% surcharge rate, capped has been an adequate funding source. A wireless surcharge was added in 2007, establishing a surcharge for postpaid wireless customers. In 2016 State Law allowed an increase in the postpaid wireless surcharge from $.85 to $1.25. Also in 2016, a law was passed to increase the 2009 surcharge collection rate from 2% to 4% on prepaid wireless services. These three revenue sources fund the equipment and personnel that operate the 9-1-1 System.