On Feb. 16, 1968, an Alabama state senator made the first 911 call in the United States.
The call was placed at 2 o’clock on a Friday afternoon from the mayor’s office in Haleyville, Alabama, and others soon followed suit. By 1973, the White House acknowledged the benefits of 911 and encouraged the rest of the nation to adopt the emergency number.
However, while the digits made it easier to dial, dispatchers said nothing will make it easier to answer.
Over the past month, The Citizen observed two shifts at the Cayuga County 911 center in the town of Sennett and spoke with several dispatchers about the difficulties and misconceptions surrounding the emergency system, and what it takes to answer those calls.