PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) –June 15 will make 30 years since enhanced 911 services were made available to all of Peoria County.

Basic 911 services began in 1976 servicing Peoria, Peoria Heights, West Peoria, Kickapoo, Norman and parts of Limestone Township. In the early 1980s Chillicothe installed basic 911 services for some of its citizens. Also prior to 1993 dispatch could not see a person’s location.

“There were over 15 non-emergency numbers that folks had to look up or know or have on their phone. Which back then there weren’t wireless telephones,” said David Tuttle, Peoria/Stark Joint Emergency Telephone System Board Chairperson. “So, they would have to know the emergency number which was a seven digit number. And they would have to fully describe to the dispatcher where they were at.”

Grassroot efforts led by a group called Citizens for Enhanced 911 pushed to improve the services services for the entire county began in the late 1980s following a near drowning incident involving a child in the rural parts of Peoria.

According to a Peoria County press release the county board placed a referendum on the 1989 ballot. Over 75% of voters chose to place a $0.80 tax on their phone bills. The passing of the referendum allowed the Emergency Telephone System Board to be created.

On June 15, 1993 enhanced services were available to the entire county. The press release states enhanced services provides the caller’s name, address, phone number as well as a listing of emergency responders that provide service to that address.

Today citizens can text 911 and even let dispatch know they want to send a picture or pre-recorded video.

“It makes our jobs so much easier to be able to take the call and now know where the person is. That’s the most important thing for us,” said Brandon Blayney, Peoria’s Emergency Communications Center Director. “And if we only get that information then we can at least send them help. Then we can worry about getting other information to help the other first responders when we can get to the call.”

Even though the technology has changed Blayney the quality service is the same.

“There’s willingness and drive for all of our dispatchers to help whether it’s a resident or even a visitor to this county to make sure that they’re getting the help as quick and safe as possible,” he said.