On May 1, 1991, Durham's Chairman Gary Herrema made the first 9-1-1 call in the Region from council chambers in Whitby. The state-of-the-art 9-1-1 system replaced eight separate seven-digit numbers to reach emergency services and cost $1.8 million to install.
In the first months of operation, approximately 400 calls a day were placed and emergency services were dispatched quickly to provide assistance. Since then, the Communications/911 Unit at DRPS has fielded millions of emergency calls during its 25-year history.
Once housed at Central East Division in Oshawa, the Communications/911 Unit now resides at the DRPS Operations Training Centre in Whitby. Calls placed to 9-1-1 are dispatched by DRPS to other emergency services as required. Communicators who answer these calls play an important role in providing emergency services to residents. They are the first voice heard during stressful and often intense situations. Using the technology at their disposal, Communicators can help officers, fire crews and EMS teams find people quickly and dispatch the nearest units. These well-trained professionals also keep those on the line calm as they wait for help to arrive.
"We are proud of the excellent work that is done by our Communications/911 Unit," said Inspector Steve Jones, who heads the unit. "Their unwavering commitment to community safety is shown every day and with every call."
"It's important for residents to know that 9-1-1 should be used for emergencies only. (The non-emergency number for DRPS is 1-888-579-1520.) Communicators have fielded many calls in the past that did not warrant the use of this important service, such as asking for directions, parents requesting discipline advice for their children, and, most recently, complaints that Amber Alert notifications were interrupting television shows. For tips on when to use 9-1-1, please visit http://bit.ly/1X8fdyS
Communicator Gord TASCHUK (JPG file, 432.2K bytes)
Fire, Police and EMS working together (JPG file, 1,462.2K bytes)
Celebrating the Anniversary of 911 in Durham Region (JPG file, 1,611.5K bytes)