The history of the SJCCA really begins in 1988 when (then) Bloomfield Police Chief Phil Nobis and Bloomfield Fire Chief George Duncan began to investigate the possibility of providing enhanced 9-1-1 (E911) services to Farmington, Aztec, Bloomfield and unincorporated areas of San Juan County.
In 1989 E911 was implemented in all the proposed areas with the help of New Mexico State Senator Christine Donisthorpe. At this time there were three separate Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), one each in Farmington, Aztec, and Bloomfield. The Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police maintained separate dispatch centers, and 9-1-1 calls received for them by the PSAPs had to be transferred.
In 1990 Larry Marcum, then with San Juan Regional EMS, hosted a study of existing San Juan County dispatch agencies and the efficiency of 9-1-1 services. The results of this study supported the creation of a single, consolidated PSAP and dispatch center countywide. The existing 9-1-1 Board was presented with the information, and voted at that time against consolidation.
In 1991 County Commission Chairman Danny Carpenter and Farmington Mayor Tom Taylor met with Larry Marcum to discuss study results and, from this, decided to present the idea of 9-1-1 consolidation at the next Tri-City/County luncheon. The idea of consolidation was well received and discussed at length.
Quarterly meetings were held to discuss different issues that consolidation could solve. Besides 9-1-1 concerns, radio coverage was another major topic. Sheriff Roger Lasater was instrumental in getting a county-wide radio system approved by the County Commission for the consolidated center.
On February 3rd, 1992 a joint City/County Commission meeting was scheduled to be held, and a plan was formulated by the participants of the quarterly meetings to present the consolidation idea at the joint meeting. As a result of that meeting, Danny Carpenter resigned as Chairman of the County Commission to spearhead an “interim” Board of Directors. Based on input from all representatives, a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) was drawn up and given to each agency for approval.
A second joint City/County Commission meeting was held on March 31st, 1992 (this time in Aztec) and the JPA was approved. Members were appointed to the first Board of Directors for the San Juan County Communications Authority. Monies were pledged from all of the agencies for this project.
The first SJCCA Board of Directors consisted of:
- George Duncan – Bloomfield Representative
- Lester Rapp – Aztec Representative
- Mike Heal – Farmington Representative
- Danny Carpenter – Farmington Representative
- Billy Hillgartner – San Juan County Representative
- Jim Dunlap – San Juan County Representative
- R. L. Stockard – New Mexico State Police Representative
In April of 1992 the first official meeting of the SJCCA Board of Directors was held and Danny Carpenter was elected Chairman of the Board. Initial planning of a consolidated dispatch center began, and the decision was made to hire an architect to begin design. Proposals had already been requested and received by the earlier “interim” Board, and the firm of Bard and Larson was hired.
In June of that year, the consulting firm of Ram Communications was hired as project engineer. Preliminary site/building plans were presented to the SJCCA Board in November.
In May of 1993, John Robinson was hired as the Communications Authority’s first Director. Construction of the dispatch center also commenced that month. The building was turned over to SJCCA staff in November, 1993.
By the beginning of 1994, dispatchers at the existing agencies had been given the option of becoming SJCCA employees. Those that accepted that offer began cross-training (January, 1994) to learn procedures used by the other agencies. The dispatch center was fully equipped by March of that year.
By April, 1994 the dispatch center had been named the Danny Carpenter Communications Center and live operations began on April 11th for City of Farmington, the San Juan County volunteer fire departments and San Juan Regional Medical Services.
One week later, SJCCA began dispatch operations for the cities of Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.
In 1996, the SJCCA began dispatching for New Mexico Police District 10 units, becoming the first, and only, consolidated dispatch center in the State of New Mexico to dispatch for State Police.
In 2005, SJCCA became a Phase I wireless enhanced dispatch center, allowing dispatchers to see the cell phone number and wireless carrier of cell phone users of 9-1-1.
One year later, in 2006, SJCCA became a Phase II wireless enhanced dispatch center, allowing dispatchers to see (in some cases) approximate GPS coordinates for the cell phones of callers when they called 9-1-1.
In 2007, SJCCA began integrating voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls into the communications center, allowing dispatchers to see the location of VoIP phone users, as they would for any other 9-1-1 caller.
In 2010, SJCCA replaced its antiquated analog 9-1-1 phone system with a state of the art Internet Protocol (IP) based phone system; the first in the State of New Mexico. This new IP based phone system sets the foundation for future implementation of “next generation” 9-1-1 technologies (as funds become available and technologies are developed).