In 1982, Commissioner Tom Bass was named by the Harris County Commissioners Court as its official representative in the 9-1-1 effort. During that same year, the City of Houston City Council task force recommended the creation of a special district for operation of 9-1-1 service for Harris County, with the placement of a service fee on the phone bills of telephone subscribers to fund the system. Lavergne Schwender of the County Attorney’s Office was principal author of the legislation and was later appointed as GHC 9-1-1’s Legal Counsel under an interlocal agreement with the County Attorney’s Office.
The 9-1-1 Emergency Number Act (Chapter 772, Health and Safety Code) passed the Senate on March 30, 1983, and passed the House on April 27, 1983. It was signed into law by Governor Mark White on May 10, 1983.
The Greater Harris County 9-1-1 Emergency Network was established in November, 1983, with the passage of enabling legislation and a voter referendum throughout the Harris County area. The voter referendum—to establish a communication district and assess a fee to fund the 9-1-1 service—passed throughout the Harris County area by a vote of 82.5% in favor.
The 9-1-1 system was officially cut-over by GHC 9-1-1 on January 26, 1986. The cities in Fort Bend officially became part of the GHC 9-1-1 Network effective September 1, 2005.
- Built and maintain redundant tier 4 data centers to house mission critical data systems and operations.
- Developed a backup mobile contingency call center setup that can be mobilized almost anywhere in little time. The mobile contingency units can handle 9-1-1 calls if any call center is unable to accept calls.
- Implemented a cost sharing program to share network infrastructure resources with various 9-1-1 entities throughout Texas to improve emergency communications and efficiency.
- Implementation of text-to-9-1-1 service for GHC 9-1-1 territory.
- Provided Emergency Profile sign up service for residents to register information about their home and family that could be valuable during a 9-1-1 call.
- Created a Network Operations Center (NOC) that provides first tier support for all 9-1-1 systems within the GHC9-1-1 area. Highly skilled and certified 9-1-1 technical specialists monitor and support every facet of equipment functionality.
- Built state-of-the-art lab facilities for testing of newest technologies.
- Transitioned to a self-managed 9-1-1 database system to have greater control and the ability to process data faster than ever before.
- Implemented the Emergency Notification system which is available to all jurisdictions within the GHC 9-1-1 territory—allowing them the capability of placing voice and text calls to notify residents of local emergencies.
- Upgraded its existing IP network to advanced multipath architecture which includes a diverse wireless and wireline path for optimal redundancy in its public safety network.
- Partnered with Harris County and the City of Houston to provide and manage advanced shared Microwave network to transport critical multi-agency public safety data.