Panhandle Regional
9-1-1 Network

Panhandle Regional 9-1-1
Network History

The Advisory Commission on State Emergency Communications

In May of 1987, House Bill 911 was passed by the Texas House of Representatives, State Senate, and the measure was signed into law by Governor Bill Clements. The bill established a state commission for the implementation and oversight of 9-1-1 throughout the entire state. By January of 1989, the Advisory Commission on State Emergency Communications (ASEC) had been formed and was preparing to review plans of implementation for regions throughout the State of Texas.

The Panhandle Regional Planning Commission presented its regional plan for 9-1-1 implentation for review by ASEC's Regional Plan Committee on August 29th, 1989 in Waco, Texas. After addressing some issues brought up during the Regional Plan Committee review, the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission's 9-1-1 Regional Plan was approved by the Advisory Commission to provide 9-1-1 service to 24 counties of the Texas Panhandle.

The Implemenation of 9-1-1 in the Texas Panhandle

The Panhandle Regional Planning Commission began planning immediately for the implementation of 9-1-1 throughout the region. Resolutions were passed with every municipal and county government to enact a 50 cent fee on every telephone to fund the project, with the hopes of having a fully functional 9-1-1 system by 1992. Along with the oversight provided by the state-run ASEC, the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission established the Panhandle Regional 9-1-1 Advisory Committee to oversee operations locally.

The Panhandle Regional 9-1-1 Network Goes Live

On September 22nd, 1991, after years of planning between different agencies, telephone companies and vendors, the Donley County Sheriff's Office was the first Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) capable of receiving 9-1-1 calls in the 24 county region. Over the next 9 months, the Panhandle Regional 9-1-1 Network installed and turned on equipment at the remaining PSAPs.

9-1-1 Addressing, Road Naming, and Signs

In 1993, the Panhandle Regional 9-1-1 Network began to assign 9-1-1 physical addresses to many of the "Rural Route Box" customers of the region. Using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and aerial imagery, and working with local governmening bodies, the 9-1-1 Network began the gargantuan task of assigning an address to every structure in the Panhandle to assist emergency personnel with incident response efficiency. This project continues to date.

In addition to assigning addresses, the Panhandle Regional 9-1-1 Network assisted county governments with the naming and ranging of County Roads, as well as the development of County Road Sign creation and installation. By September of 1999, all of the County Roads were named, and the road signs were either produced, or on their way to production.

Training and Public Education

In 1996, the Panhandle Regional 9-1-1 Network had a pilot training project to help train public safety telecommunicators. By 1997, the 9-1-1 Network partnered with Amarillo College, and created the Amarillo College Panhandle Regional Law Enforcement Academy to begin offering trainings as well. Many of the initial trainings are still being offered today. In addition to training, the 9-1-1 Network understood that educating the public about the 9-1-1 system was necessary. Many items were given out, and in 1997, Andy the Ambulance was purchased to assist with public education efforts. Andy has been the cornerstone face of the 9-1-1 Network ever since.

Wireless and Voip

With the percentage of 9-1-1 wireless calls on the rise, the Panhandle Regional 9-1-1 Network worked diligently to remedy many of the location issues associated with the newer mobile technology. In 2003, mapping screens were first made available to dispatchers in the region, and by 2008, the Panhandle Regional 9-1-1 Network was upgrading the software to allow for Wireless Phase II (location of cellular handsets) plotting on the maps. This technology allowed a dispatcher to see where someone was calling from with a mobile phone. By 2009, a full network upgrade was completed, transitioning the region from an analog to a host based digital I.P. network. The upgrade also included the Wireless Phase II routing.

Pancom Backup Network

The reliability of the Regional 9-1-1 Network always remains at the forefront of 9-1-1 staff priorities. In 2014, the Network plugged into the Pancom Network to ensure a backup call delivery system in the event that fibers or copper was cut or damaged. In the event of a fiber cut, often times, the 9-1-1 Network will deliver those calls over the Pancom Network until repairs can be made.