PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Later this month, Peoria County will note the 30th anniversary of enhanced 911 service here.

During that time, the county noted, more than 3.1 million 911 calls have been answered by the “first of the first responders,” said the former head of the dispatch center.

“They are the first of the first responders. For 30 years they have been the ones to help people through their emergencies, in what can often be one of the most traumatic times in their life,” said David Tuttle, who retired a few years ago as head of the county’s dispatch center and who is now the Emergency Telephone System Board chair.

911 came to Peoria County in 1972 when the city of Peoria installed basic 911 service. This service covered phone exchanges inside the City of Peoria, Peoria Heights, West Peoria, part of Limestone Township, Kickapoo, and Norwood. That, however, did not provide any location technology. In March 1983, Chillicothe gained basic 911 service for some of its phone prefixes.

But following an incident in 1988 in rural Peoria County, a grassroots effort was undertaken to get enhanced 911 for all areas of the county and in 1989, voters approved a referendum to fund that through an additional fee on their phone bill.

It took about four years but E911 was available to all county phone lines in June 1993. The service was expanded about a decade later for wireless users.