The Call - Fall 2011 - (Page 16)

F E AT u R E Roger Reinke accepts the NENA Founders Award at NENA 2011. LookING BACk oN 30 YEARS oF 9-1-1 Interview conducted by Ron Bonneau, ENP, NENA Historical Committee Chair NENA Hall of Fame member Roger Reinke recaps 9-1-1 history D uring the NENA 2011 Conference, we had an opportunity to speak with Roger Reinke, a NENA Hall of Fame member who contributed greatly to the development of 9-1-1 and the founding association. Here’s what Reinke had to say about the inception of 9-1-1 and NENA. making it available; they didn’t say they were working on plans to convert switching centers. AT&T said they were leaving it up to the local people to figure out how to make it happen. There were some local agencies that were willing to tackle this. TC: Did the organizations, such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) embrace the technology? RR: When 9-1-1 was announced, I was working as assistant director of professional standards division at IACP. IACP looked at the announcement, and I suggested we try to help the constituent departments address 9-1-1 and how it might work. It was referred to the communications committee of IACP, which included many chiefs of police from all over. They looked at it for about four or five years without actually coming up with a recommendation one way or another. Each year they would decide that it needed more study. TC: Were you frustrated by the position IACP took on 9-1-1? RR: I was, indeed. IACP was not the only public safety organization to react in the way they did. In fact, I can’t recall any public safety organization that immediately accepted 9-1-1. TC: So what was your next role with 9-1-1 after you left IACP in 1976? RR: I went to the Office of Telecommunications Policy (OTP) in the office of the President. I was charged with generally overseeing state and local communications. As far as the federal government was concerned, there was really no specific money set aside for a state and local program. There was a need for an information clearinghouse on 9-1-1, and I The Call: Tell us about the beginning of 9-1-1. Roger Reinke: The impetus came from various crime commissions in the early and mid-1960s. President Johnson talked about the desirability of a universal number. OLEAA (Office of Law Enforcement Assistance Administration) and the Department of Justice came into being at about that time, and among their projects, the idea of a universal number got kicked around a little, but it didn’t take off at that point. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Lee Loevinger was aware of some of these recommendations from the crime commissions. He told AT&T (at that time there was only one major telephone company) that they ought to look into establishing an emergency number. TC: Who came up with using the numbers 9-1-1? RR: AT&T responded to Loevinger by saying they could create an emergency number. At that time, a three-digit numbering scheme would make sense, and 9-1-1 was selected because of the other uses of digits like 2-1-1 and 4-1-1. TC: Once AT&T agreed to take on the challenge, how did 9-1-1 get accepted by the public safety committee? RR: The announcement by AT&T that 9-1-1 was available as an universal number resulted in a big, blank “huh?” on the part of most potential users. And that’s because AT&T said they were 16 | THE CALL | FALL 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Call - Fall 2011

President’s Message
From the CEO
Government Affairs
Tech Trends
Committee Corner
NENA Celebrates 30th Anniversary
Looking Back on 30 Years of 9-1-1
NENA 2011: Minneapolis
Thoughts from Aron Ralston
NENA Celebrates Excellence in Public Safety
Member Spotlight
Chapter Spotlight
Index of Advertisers/

The Call - Fall 2011