Haleyville - The First 911 Call

At 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, 1968 the first 911 call was placed from the mayor's office in Haleyville (Ala.), and answered a short distance away at the police station. Also visit our album of current Haleyville photos. updated 6/6/02

B.W. Gallagher & red phone In this photograph from the Feb. 9, 1968 issue of the "Daily Northwest Alabamian," B.W. Gallagher (left), president of the Alabama Telephone Co., displays the bright red telephone that was installed at the Haleyville (Ala.) police station to receive the first 911 call. In the middle is Haleyville mayor James Whitt, and on the right is Robert Normal, commercial manager of ATC.

This information sign was erected at the city limits to inform residents and visitors of the new three-digit emergency telephone number.

911 sign at Haleyville

Making the first 911 call Answering the first 911 call
From the Sunday, Feb. 18, 1968 issue of the "Daily Northwest Alabamian"-- state Rep. Rankin Fite placing the first-ever 911 call from the mayor's office--that's Mayor James Whitt behind him. U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill answers the first 911 call at the Haleyville (Ala.) police station with "Hello." Directly behind him is Bull Connor, head of the state's Public Service Commission, and B.W. Gallagher, president of the Alabama Telephone Co.

B.W. Gallagher Robert Fitzgerald
B.W. Gallagher, president of the Alabama Telephone Co., who decided to beat AT&T to the punch and install the nation's first 911 system. He read about AT&T's plan in the Wall Street Journal in January, and worked to obtain the necessary approvals for installing the system in Haleyville. Robert Fitzgerald, inside plant manager of the Alabama Telephone Co., is at work inside the Fayette (Ala.) central office in 1968, the year he designed and helped install the gear for the first 911 system.
This plaque on Robert Fitzgerald's tombstone commemorates his involvement with the first 911 system and call in the United States. Mr. Fitzgerald died in June 2001.
Robert Fitzgerald

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