This year marks the 50th anniversary of the use of the 911 emergency call system.

In February 1968, the first 911 call was made in Haleyville, Alabama.

However, the need to effectively communicate an emergency to someone who could quickly send help and designate an emergency number that was easy for the public to remember was realized long before Sen. Rankin Fite completed that first groundbreaking call.

In the early 1900s, a portable phone with a crank and metal hooks, designed to be placed over bare phone wires, was developed.

Activating the crank created a signal, or call, and thus the ability to make a voice-generated emergency request was born.

It is difficult to imagine having to make a call like that today, but it did work and was used to report a train robbery which resulted in the arrest of the outlaws. Several years later in 1912, the distress signal sent from the Titanic to the closest ship was never received because the radio operator was off duty.

This tragic event emphasized the need for regulations and mandates in communication.

Congress later passed the Radio Act of 1912, requiring ships to have a radio operator on duty at all times.

We jump ahead to 1967, when President Lyndon Johnson's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommended the public have a single telephone number to contact the police.

In January 1968, AT&T designated 911 as a "universal emergency number," and the following month that historic call was made in Haleyville.

With the innovation of wireless phones, 911 became more sophisticated.

Enhanced 911 systems can determine the general location of the wireless caller, and the technology continues to improve.

Today, throughout the world, there are thousands of 911 operators taking life-threatening emergency calls 24 hours a day, every day.

Our profession never sleeps.

We are proud of the commitment we've made to serve those in need.

The Protect & Serve column was submitted by the communication technicians at the Pickerington Police Department.