Emergency services units in Alexander City, Ala., will many times respond to calls in areas outside of the city limits.
Anita Haggerty, the local 911 coordinator, explained that the local police and fire departments, and Tallapoosa County ambulances have formal boundaries for the area of operations. But those boundaries sometimes are more flexible that at first glance.
“Years ago when 911 was formed for Tallapoosa County, the jurisdiction lines were drawn across the county,” she told The Alexander City Outlook. “So 911 calls that come into Alexander City police department are for the city limits.”
“Tallassee is kind of unique in that they have city limits and police jurisdiction in Elmore and Tallapoosa counties,” she added. “Those calls for Tallassee in the Tallapoosa County side for the city limits and police jurisdiction go for Elmore County Sheriff’s Department and Tallassee Police.”
911 calls in the county, outside of Alexander City, are routed to the Tallapoosa County sheriff’s department, and whether the 911 call was made using a landline or a cell phone will determine where it is sent, the article said.
“With cell phone calls, if the calls … hit a cell tower that is outside Alexander City jurisdiction, it may come to the sheriff’s office, but they can then route it to Alex City and vice versa,” Haggerty said. “The cell phone calls are different from landlines in that the landlines are specifically routed that communications center in the area. With cell phone towers, it depends on what tower the call hits to determine where it will be routed. For instance, as close as Alexander City is to Coosa County, someone on the county boarder there may call 911 and it might route to Alexander City.”
Fire departments and ambulance calls have jurisdiction boundaries, too. The Alexander City Fire Department responds many times because of mutual response agreements.
“Automatic aid is where we automatically respond to buildings outside our coverage area. We have automatic aid with Kellyton, Ourtown, and with Hackneyville in certain areas,” Alexander City Fire Chief Kem Jones said in the article.
Such agreements benefit residents by lowering homeowners’ insurance rates, and in other ways, too. “It’s all about helping people,” Jones said.
Edited by Alisen Downey