History of
Caddo Parish

Map of Caddo Parish

Caddo Parish is located in the far Northwest corner of Louisiana approximately 185 miles due east of Dallas. The total population of the parish is 252,161 (2000   Census), and the parish covers approximately 852 square miles.

On April 5, 1986, the voters of Caddo Parish approved the assessment of a telephone surcharge to fund the development, implementation and operation of an enhanced emergency telephone reporting system, 9-1-1. The Caddo Parish Communications District was created by Parish Ordinance, and this ordinance allowed for the creation of an appointed seven-member citizen board to establish policies and to provide oversight to the 9-1-1 system and to the 9-1-1 staff.

The proceeds from the telephone surcharge fees are used to fund: the emergency telephone system/network; the emergency communications equipment and equipment maintenance; employee training; eight 9-1-1 administrative staff positions; a communications facility to house all of the agencies’ communications officers, who answer 9-1-1 calls and dispatch emergency services personnel; and building/grounds maintenance.

In 1988, construction was completed on the first Emergency Communications Center (ECC) which is located at 1144 Texas Avenue in Shreveport, Louisiana. This facility had approximately 9,900 square feet. During the original design of the ECC in 1986-87, it was planned that all three public safety agencies would be co-located in one facility: The Shreveport Police and Fire Communications Divisions and the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Communications operations as well. However, in late 1987, it was decided that an alternate back up PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) would be constructed within the Courthouse. As a result the ECC design was altered to exclude the Sheriff’s Operations, however, space was allocated for future growth and the possibility of additional equipment and staff. In addition to the public safety communications personnel, the ECC also houses the 9-1-1 Administrative Staff. The facility also serves as an Emergency Operations Center for use by the Caddo/Bossier Office of Emergency Preparedness to be activated during a natural disaster or major emergency.

On September 17, 1989, the Caddo Parish 9-1-1 emergency reporting system was implemented. The average monthly call volume was 9,000 calls. Today, the system averages 22,000 calls per month.

In 1991, the Caddo Parish 9-1-1 District negotiated intergovernmental agreements with the various public safety agencies to centralize the call receipt of all 9-1-1 calls in the parish, to be routed to the ECC with the Shreveport Fire Department serving as the initial call taker for all of the calls and providing caller interrogation and station alerting functions for the nine rural fire districts in the parish. In June 1992, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Department re-located its communications operations into the ECC, which resulted in the physical addition of four console positions into the communications operations area of the ECC. The operations area has grown to 28 console positions with 124 communications personnel, who make up the Communications Divisions of the Shreveport Fire Department, Shreveport Police Department and Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office.

After the 9-1-1 system was implemented in 1989, the 9-1-1 Board continued to evaluate its operations and methods by which the overall delivery of public safety services to the citizens of the Parish via the Enhanced 9-1-1 system could be improved. In late 1990, the Board of Commissioners established a System Enhancement Sub-committee to evaluate the existing communications systems and determine if these systems would be sufficient to meet the future and ever-increasing demands for services. The 9-1-1 Board, to solicit input to determine communications needs and priority of projects, formed a technical sub-committee comprised of representatives from each of the public safety agencies. For many months the Board of Commissioners examined ways 9-1-1 could serve as a catalyst to improve the emergency communications throughout the parish. On February 18, 1992, the Board voted to contract with RCC/OMNICOM, Inc., a radio-consulting firm to determine what type of radio system could best serve all of the public safety agencies in the parish. After interviews with all of the public safety agencies in the parish and reviewing the existing communications networks and associated problems, RCC/OMNICOM, Inc. presented the Board with several system design alternatives and configurations. On December 8, 1992, the Board unanimously adopted the System Enhancement Sub-committee’s recommendation to proceed with the design for a multi-site 800 MHz 15-channel Simulcast Trunked Radio System. The projected cost for this system was $15 million. Due to the lack of adequate funding to implement this system in its entirety (parishwide), the Board adopted the System Enhancement Sub-committee’s other recommendation to move forward with the development of another much needed communications enhancement: a parishwide Computer-Aided-Dispatch (CAD) System. In June, 1994, RCC/OMNICOM, Inc., presented a comprehensive parishwide plan for the implementation for a CAD/Records Management System that would allow migration to Mobile Data Computers and an Automatic Vehicle Location System.

Because of the impact that these new communications systems would have on the existing ECC facility, the Board appointed a Spatial Needs Sub-committee to review: the proposed equipment’s spatial requirements; any existing building deficiencies; future staffing needs for all of the agencies in the ECC; mechanical/HVAC systems’ capabilities; evaluation of existing space utilization; structural evaluation and review of fire alarms/security systems. As a result, the Board voted to commission the services of an architectural firm to provide direction to the Board in its efforts to expand the communications systems and plan for future growth to meet the needs well into the year 2010. The firm of Ralph Kiper & Associates was chosed by the Board after the review of eight (8) written proposals and three (3) oral presentations provided by local architectural firms.

In November, 1996, construction began on the $2.5 million facility expansion project.  9-1-1 District reserve funds were used to fund this capital outlay project. The expansion project included adding approximately 9,000 square feet to the existing 9-1-1 facility. The addition consists of a new communications operations area for the public safety agencies with administrative offices and a new communications equipment room. On February 26, 1998, the communications operations for each of the agencies were moved into the new communications center. The facility expansion also included remodeling the old communications center, incorporating a training center and a stress mitigation room.

In June, 1996, the District began contract negotiations with Intergraph Public Safety Corporation after an extensive Request for Proposals evaluation process for a new Computer Assisted Dispatch (CAD) system and Records Management System (RMS). The District executed an agreement with Intergraph in December, 1996. One of the goals of the new CAD system was to automate all of the rural fire districts, which provide fire/EMS services to the rural areas of the parish, as well as the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Shreveport Police and Fire Communications Divisions. The primary functions of the new CAD system are: to more efficiently and effectively facilitate the response to emergency calls for service through the 9-1-1 emergency reporting telephone system, determine the location of the emergency, dispatch the appropriate law enforcement/fire /EMS units and maintain a status of units assigned and available to be assigned. The primary benefits of the new CAD system are: increased speed, accuracy and reliability of the dispatch process; thus reducing response times; increased safety by improving information available to field units; improved utilization and management of law enforcement, fire fighting and emergency medical services by providing more accurate and timely information about incidents and by improved status keeping and display; will collect data concerning calls for service and subsequent responses in support of management information for resource and departmental activity. The new CAD system is graphics-based and will be utilizing the new digitized base-map of Caddo Parish with longitude and latitude, guaranteeing accuracy within 2 and 1/2 feet. The new CAD system is a client/ server-based system on a Windows NT operating system with dual processors for redundancy for total system reliability. The total cost of the system was $2,519,362. This project was funded through utilizing $1.5 million in existing operating reserves and by issuing $1 million in Certifications of Indebtedness. The system became operational on December 15, 1998.

In an effort to secure the necessary funding for the critically needed radio system, the Caddo Parish Communications District introduced legislation during the 1996 Special Session of the Louisiana Legislature, that would allow the 9-1-1 District to amend its existing enabling legislation. This legislation would allow the Caddo 9-1-1 District to increase the 9-1-1 surcharge fee upon voter approval and to assess cellular and other wireless or future technology that could access 9-1-1 service. This legislation became effective on June 19, 1996.

On September 21, 1996, the voters of Caddo Parish overwhelmingly approved an increase in the 9-1-1 surcharge fee, which will enable the funding of the parishwide 800 MHz trunked radio system for all of the public safety agencies in Caddo Parish.

In June 1997, the District’s radio engineers developed a comprehensive Statement of Work for the installation and implementation of a seven (7) site 15-channel 800 MHz Simulcast Trunked Radio System. As a result, the District executed an agreement with Motorola in December 1997, pending funding approval from the State Bond Commission. The contract with Motorola for the implementation of this new system was divided into two (2) phases.

Phase I of the   project involved the construction of four (4) new radio communications tower, which are strategically located throughout the parish, the installation of the repeaters and microwave system that will comprise the radio infrastructure or backbone of the system. The cost of Phase I was approximately $6,715,392.

Phase II of the project was the purchase and installation of the mobile and portable radio equipment for the field personnel for each of the public safety agencies and will cost an estimated $4,532,367. Total cost for Phases I & II was approximately $11,247,759.

On October 15, 2001, the new 800 MHz 15-channel simulcast trunked radio system went on-line. The new radio system enables all public safety agencies in Caddo Parish to communicate more efficiently and effectively by sharing one common radio network and totally compatible radio equipment and frequencies. Prior to October 2001 Caddo Parish public safety agencies operated independently and utilized different radio frequencies. As a result of this individuality, during times of natural disasters or major emergencies, public safety personnel could not easily communicate with each other during critical situations. To further complicate this problem, these Caddo Parish agencies could not communicate with Bossier City Police and Fire Departments, the Bossier Parish Sheriff or the Louisiana State Police. The Bossier agencies and the Louisiana State Police were operating on Motorola trunked radio systems and were not compatible with the old systems in Caddo. This inability to communicate with adjacent jurisdictions and within the parish during natural disasters or coordinated law enforcement activities resulted in the lack of coordination, uniformity and unity. The new 800 MHz system insures total interoperability with the State Police, Bossier Parish Sheriff, Bossier City Police and Fire Departments. The District utilized existing operating reserves of $1.5 million and the proceeds from the issuance of Certificates of Indebtedness to fund the respective phases of the project.

In an effort to provide the public safety agencies in the parish affordable, reliable and accurate paging, the District contracted with Motorola, Inc., for the purchase of a parish-wide alpha-numeric paging system, which utilizes the District's radio towers.  The paging system is a stand-alone, non-commercial system and cost approximately $330,000. The paging system became operational on July 30, 2000 and supports over 475 pagers.

For a better overview of each of the communications systems enhancements, please visit our Technology Update page.   

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