Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Question :        I pay a fee on my monthly cell phone bill for 9-1-1 services. What does this pay for and why can’t you get more cell towers for better coverage in Washington Parish?

Answer :          All 9-1-1 fees go toward the operation of the 9-1-1 equipment being utilized in Washington Parish to answer your call for help and to pay for the administrative functions performed by the Communications District. These services include addressing within Washington Parish and the development of detailed maps of all roads within the parish.  Additional details on the use of 9-1-1 fees can be found at  https://www.wpcde-911.com/financial-statements/.  Additional details on the functions of the Communications District can be found at https://www.wpcde-911.com/district-functions/ .

Cell tower locations are determined by the wireless companies.  Once the wireless companies determine where to locate their towers, the Communications District works closely with them to facilitate their efforts to place the tower in operation.  Specifics of cell tower testing can be found at https://www.wpcde-911.com/wireless-testing-procedures/.

Question :        What functions are performed by the Communications District ?

Answer :          The Communications District is responsible for such things as:

(1) Addressing houses in the Parish, (2) Developing, maintaining, and providing maps of the parish for emergency response, (3) Public assistance and educational activities, and (4) the system design, acquisition, installation, maintenance, and upgrading of all 9-1-1 equipment. Additional details on the functions of the Communications District can be found at https://www.wpcde-911.com/district-functions/ .

Question :        How accurate is the equipment that locates my cell phone when I dial 9-1-1 ?

Answer :          It depends on the the cell phone company’s equipment and even the time of day and the weather.  In some instances, the equipment has been tested to be accurate within five feet.

Question :       I was not happy with the way my recent 9-1-1 call was handled.  What should I do ?

Answer :         9-1-1 calls in the parish are answered by law enforcement dispatchers. The Washington Parish Communications District does not have the authority to enforce standards of performance on the police dispatchers since they are not our employees.  Thus, all complaints should be directed to the law enforcement agency  that answered your 9-1-1 call.

Question :       It took too long for the ambulance to arrive at my house.  What should I do ?

Answer :         Ambulance operations in Louisiana are governed by the Louisiana Bureau of Emergency Medical Services in Baton Rouge.  There are no response time requirements in Washington Parish.  The Washington Parish Communications District does not have the authority to enforce Louisiana Standards of ambulance performance.  Thus, all complaints should be directed to the ambulance company that answered your call, or to Susan Bailey, Director, Louisiana Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, 225.925.4022,  susan.bailey@la.gov

Question :        Why doesn’t Washington Parish operate a single, 9-1-1 call handling center like I see on television and in the movies ?

Answer :          Based on the number of 9-1-1 calls in Washington Parish, the number of call takers/dispatchers required to be on duty around the clock is significant.  While the Communications Center located at 54100 Dollar Road has the technical and equipment capability to serve as a 9-1-1 call handling center, the current level of 9-1-1 revenues in Washington Parish is not sufficient to support the staffing necessary for this type of system to be solely operated by the District.  The Communications District and its law enforcement, and fire service partners are, however, investigating cost effective ways to jointly reach the goal of operating a 9-1-1 call handling center in order to provide better services to the citizens of the parish.

Question :        St. Tammany Parish is able to provide financial support to the law enforcement agencies in their parish. Why doesn’t Washington Parish do the same?

Answer :          Louisiana Revised Statue 33:9101-9107 gives each Communications District in the State the authority to operate their 9-1-1 system in a way which is best for their particular Parish.  It was the belief from the beginning of 9-1-1 in Washington Parish that the best utilization of available resources would be for the Communications District to be responsible for equipment, maintenance, and certain administrative functions, and for the law enforcement agencies to be responsible for the pay, performance, supervision, and training of dispatchers who answered the calls for help.

The Washington Parish Communications District takes in only 15 percent of the 9-1-1 revenue that is generated in St Tammany Parish, and thus, must operate in a more fiscally conservative mode than a more affluent entity.

Question :        What kind of training does the Communications District provide the dispatchers?

Answer :          The law enforcement agencies themselves are responsible for the training of their dispatchers as is the case in every employer – employee relationship.  The Communications District, however, provides dispatcher training when requested to do so by those agencies.