Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles 9-1-1 System Turns 40 on the Fourth of July

Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles 9-1-1 System Turns 40 on the Fourth of July

  • Editor’s Note: Here’s a fun little “Throwback Thursday” item of interest, as well photos and a few fun facts about the history of the 9-1-1 emergency dispatch system in Kane County, IL, courtesy of  former Tri-Com Director Jerry Bleck, who retired from Tri-Com back in 2009 but continues as a consultant in public safety communications.

On the Fourth of July, 2016, the 9-1-1 emergency telephone system in the Tri-Cities will be celebrating its 40th birthday.

Tri-Com Mayors

Dedication ceremony at Tri-Com with Mayors Brown, Spriet, Wood, and Tri-Com Board Chairman Bob Popeck.

In 1974, the cities of Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles applied for and were awarded a federal and state grant to combine each city’s public safety communication center in a single answering point. With that came the decision to implement the new 9-1-1 telephone system for the Tri-Cities, and on July 4, 1976, our nation’s 200th anniversary — (Editor’s note to young people: See the movie “Rocky” for more information.) — the 9-1-1 system at Tri-Com Central Dispatch was born.

The system implemented in 1976 was known as “Basic 9-1-1.” Later, in 1991, Tri-Com upgraded that system to “Enhanced 9-1-1,” adding wireless or cellular 9-1-1 service in 1994, and text to 9-1-1 service in 2016.

Original 9-1-1 Publicity Photo - 1976

News photo showing the cooperation of Illinois Bell Telephone and the Tri-Cities police, fire and EMS services.

Technology continues to be on the move, and it is expected that 9-1-1 service in the state of Illinois in the next five years will switch from traditional telephone service to (IP) Internet Protocol.

Tri-Com was located in the Geneva Public Safety Building for 29 years and moved to its own facility in St. Charles where it has been located since 2005. Tri-Com now serves the villages of Elburn, Sugar Grove, the North Aurora Fire Protection District, and the Waubonsee College Campus Police in addition to the original Tri-Cities.

A single three-digit telephone number to aid the public in getting emergency police, fire, or ambulance assistance actually dates back to the telephone system installed in Great Britain in 1937, but it wasn’t until the “President’s Commission On Law Enforcement” completed its report in 1967 that a three digit emergency telephone number was suggested for the United States, and later in 1968 AT&T assigned 9-1-1 to be that number.

Tri-Com was among the first of what is termed as a consolidated communication center, and was the very first consolidated communication center in the nation to implement the 9-1-1 system.

  • Feature Photo Caption: Ribbon cutting to open Tri-Com, July 4, 1976, with Mayors Bob Brown, Burt Wood and Ed Spriet.
Tri-Com Announced

(Above) News article announcing the implementation of Tri-Com and the 9-1-1 telephone system.

9-1-1 Agencies in Kane County

  • Kane County Emergency Communications (KaneComm) is a multi-jurisdictional dispatch center responsible for the deployment of several police, fire, and medical agencies located within Kane County. KaneComm personnel are tasked with all of the incoming emergency and non-emergency calls for assistance from citizens residing in these jurisdictions.Subscribers to KaneComm include the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, police departments from Wayne, Gilberts, Hampshire, Maple Park, Pingree Grove, Campton Hills, Fox Valley Park District, Kane County Forest Preserve District and South Elgin, and the fire districts of Burlington, Hampshire, Maple Park, Pingree Grove, Fox River, Big Rock and Kaneville. For more information, visit the KaneComm web page.
  • TRI COM CENTRAL, dispatches for:
    • St. Charles Police/Fire/Emergency Medical Services
    • Geneva Police/Fire/Emergency Medical Services
    • Batavia Police/Fire/Emergency Medical Services
    • Elburn Police/Fire/Emergency Medical Services
    • Sugar Grove Police/Fire/Emergency Medical Services
    • Waubonsee Cadets
    • North Aurora Fire/Emergency Medical Services
  • AURORA CENTRAL dispatches for:
    • Aurora Police/Fire/Emergency Medical Services
    • North Aurora Police
  • QUAD COM, dispatches for:
    • Carpentersville Police/Fire/Emergency Medical Services
    • West Dundee Police/Fire/Emergency Medical Services
    • East Dundee Police/Fire/Emergency Medical Services
    • Sleepy Hollow Police
    • South Barrington Police
    • Rutland Fire/Emergency Medical Services
    • Barrington Hills Police
  • ELGIN POLICE DEPARTMENT, dispatches for:
    • Elgin Police/Fire/Emergency Medical Services
    • South Elgin Fire/Emergency Medical Services