History of 9-1-1 in South Dakota

It was the “real life” television shows of the late 1980’s that fueled the fire for rural areas across the nation to implement 9-1-1 systems for their citizens.  South Dakota lawmakers passed legislation in 1989 allowing the imposition of a 9-1-1 surcharge on telephone lines in the state.  Under that legislation, local governments were allowed to impose a monthly fee of up to 75 cents to provide a portion of the funding for 9-1-1 services.  That fee exists yet today – at the very same level.

A number of different task forces, meetings and studies over the years have culminated in the 2008 creation of the South Dakota 9-1-1 Coordination Board.

The board, which is appointed by the Governor, is comprised of eleven members from cities, counties, professional organizations, associations and service providers.  One member is from the Department of Public Safety.  All members are appointed to staggered three year terms.  The board employs a 9-1-1 coordinator to assist with the coordination of the statewide 9-1-1 system.

Specifically, the South Dakota 9-1-1 Coordination Board is legislatively tasked with the following duties:


  • Evaluate all current public safety answering points and systems for their capability to administer systems.
  • Develop plans for the implementation for a uniform statewide 9-1-1 system covering the state.
  • Monitor the number and location of public safety answering points or systems and the use of 9-1-1 emergency surcharge funds in their administrative and operational budgets.
  • Develop criteria and minimum standards for operating and financing public safety answering points or systems.
  • Develop criteria for the eligibility and amount of reimbursement of recurring and nonrecurring costs of public safety answering points or systems.
  • Develop criteria for the implementation of performance audits of the use of 9-1-1 fees utilized in the operation of the 9-1-1 system.
  • Report annually to the Governor and Legislature about the operations and findings of the board and any recommendations for changes to 9-1-1 service in the state.


The 9-1-1 Coordinator also acts as a conduit from the board to those involved across the state in the day-to-day activities of operating a public safety answering point.