On September 2, 1986 Knox County Emergency Communications was established. Through visionary leadership, both Knox County Executive Dwight Kessel and City of Knoxville Mayor Kyle Testerman signed local legislation to bring 911 technology to the City of Knoxville and Knox County. Both jurisdictions collaborated to bring Enhanced 911 and centralized dispatch to our community to better serve emergency service communications. The city and county split the cost to build the facility and purchase the necessary equipment to establish the 911 service.
On January 1, 1987, the switch to 911 service was flipped on and twenty minutes later the first Knox County 911 call was received. The center was housed in the City-County Building on Main Ave in downtown Knoxville.
On February 1, 1987, Knox 911 became the first in Tennessee fully consolidated dispatch center when they added the 800 MHz radio system to the Knox 911 center. At the time it was the first 800 MHz system in the state and only the third such system in the country.
In 2000, Knox 911 purchased the current 911 call center from Knoxville Utilities Board and began a major renovation and expansion of the building. With a total investment of 11 million dollars in facilities and technology, the team began to fully operate in the new facility in 2003.
In 2002, Knox 911 was awarded international accreditation. We were the first communications district in the State of Tennessee to achieve accreditation through Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). That accreditation award has been renewed and is current.
In 2004, we were the first communications district in history to be part of the CALEA Tri-Arc Award. This award is given to municipalities that have a Law Enforcement, Public Safety Training Academy and Public Safety Communications all simultaneously accredited through CALEA.
In 2016, Knox 911 began the process to move to the P25 Digital radio system and built an additional master site in the Tennessee Valley Regional Communications System. Joining the system meant that Knox 911 moved away from the old analog radio system and onto the digital platform.
In February 2021, Knox 911 went live with Text to 911 technology allowing people to place a 911 call via text. The service is not meant to replace the traditional voice call but is another avenue for those who cannot safely make a traditional 911 call get the help they need.