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History of 9-1-1 in Ector County, Texas

The first 9-1-1 telephone system within Ector County was installed and operational in Odessa, Texas on April 1, 1970.  As a joint community project between Southwestern Bell Telephone and the City of Odessa, the system served two primary telephone exchanges within Ector County utilizing a basic 9-1-1 system.  The City of Odessa Fire Department operated this system until it was turned over to the City of Odessa Police Department in 1984.

In 1987 House Bill 911 was passed by Texas Legislature allowing for the state-wide creation of Emergency Communication Districts charged with the responsibility of providing call delivery of 9-1-1 service from the public to public-safety agencies. Legislation also provided a funding mechanism to allow local governmental control and funding of the enhanced 9-1-1 systems. This House Bill is now known as Section 772 of  the Texas Health and Safety Code.

On November 3, 1987 a local election was held in which the creation of the Emergency Communication District within Ector County was passed by voters.  The jurisdictional boundaries are defined as all of  Ector County and the cities of Goldsmith and Odessa, Texas.

The District was officially named the Emergency Communication District of Ector County by the newly appointed Board of Managers who implemented an inter-local agreement with the City of Odessa to provide administrative services to the District. This responsibility was passed to the Odessa Police Department, who took steps to upgrade the system.

On March 1, 1990 the basic 9-1-1 system was upgraded into a fully enhanced 9-1-1 system, expanding operations throughout the county and taking in all local telephone exchanges and public-safety agencies.  This transition allowed the City of Goldsmith and the communities of West Odessa, Penwell, Gardendale, Pleasant Farms, Notrees, and Midland County residents into the 9-1-1 network.

In 1992 the District separated from the City of Odessa and created its own staff as the 9-1-1 system was upgraded to respond to wireless calls and implemented the use of digital mapping to local public-safety agencies.

In 2010 the District upgraded the system again into the VoIP environment, allowing for IP access and transmission of 9-1-1 calls as technology began its transition from legacy based systems into the IP environment.

The system has always been able to receive TTY calls, and with technological advancements, the District enabled the 9-1-1 system to receive text messages as of February 2014.