METCAD Historical Milestones

1975 – Champaign and Urbana councils approve policy and funding for consolidated police communications.  Champaign, Urbana and Unviersity of Illinois Police Departments are founding members.  This is funded by a grant from East Central Illinois Criminal Justice Commission.

August 1978 – Formal agreement for METCAD approved by founding agencies; James Munn named first director.

June 3, 1979 – METCAD begins dispatching from basement of county office building, 1905 E. Main St; 333-8911 listed as emergency number.

August 1980 – Lt. Thomas Whipple, Champaign Police, assigned to METCAD as director.

Dec. 1, 1981 – Champaign County sheriff's office joins METCAD.

May 1984 – County begins assessing fees on village departments for dispatching.

August 1986 – Barry Furey named as director.

1988 – FIRECOM fire dispatching consolidated with METCAD.

November 1988 – Voters approved 75-cent phone surcharge to pay for 911 dispatch service.

February 1990 – Basic 911 service begins after years of delay on 3-digit emergency number. Basic 9-1-1 provided the Telecommunicator with no name or location information.

June 1991 – Brian Melby named as director.

June 1992 – Mobile data terminal system begins allowing patrol officers to access dispatch information from squad cars.

July 1994 - Wireless 9-1-1 Phase 0 implemented for some carriers, allowing 9-1-1 to be reached form cell phones.

October 1995 – Al Anderson named as director.

May 11, 1996 – E911 system, or Enhanced 911 implemented. Provided Telecommunicator with callers name, phone number and location.

November 1998 – Voters approve increase in phone surcharge to pay for equipment improvements; revolving 10-year capital improvement plan approved by METCAD board. New surcharge $1.50.

March 1999 – Emergency Medical Dispatching (EMD) services begin at METCAD.

November 1999 - Tiburon CAD implemented.

June 3, 2002 - METCAD moved into newly renovated space in the same facility.  The new space provided for additional administrative offices, a larger dispatch room and a larger equipment room.  In addition, employes now have a locker room and a break room.

September 2003 - Wireless 9-1-1 Phase 1 implemented for some carriers, providing the Telecommunicator with the callers phone number and the address of the cell tower they are connected to.

June 2004 – Rick Kallmayer named as director.

September 2006 – Wireless 9-1-1 Phase II implemented for all carriers, providing Telecommunicators with the callers phone number, address of the cell tower they are connected to and GPS coordinates of their phone, when available.

May 23, 2007 - METCAD initiates testing of the new county-wide Digital 800 Megahertz radio system to support fully interoperable communications county-wide. The system is called the METCAD Digital Interoperable Communications Environment (MDICE).

August, 2007 through September 2007 - Champaign County Law Enforcement Agencies begin using MDICE. Agency cut-over was staggered over a two month period.

December 2008 - Area Fire Departments begin using MDICE.

December 2009 – Ralph Caldwell named as director.

March 21, 2014 - New 9-1-1 phone system equipment used by Telecommunicators to receive 9-1-1 calls is installed at METCAD.

July 7, 2014 - The Village of Rantoul joins METCAD, METCAD assumes responsibility for answering all 9-1-1 calls and dispatching for Rantoul Police Department and Rantoul Fire Department.

March 1, 2016 - METCAD implements Text to 9-1-1 service allowing citizens in need of emergency assistance to request help via text message from their cell phone.


Why do you ask so many questions?

METCAD Telecommunicators follow a specific line of questioning to assist with rapid identification of the situation and collection of facts. This line of questioning has been established by the public safety agencies served by METCAD as well as the Medical Director for Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocols. Telecommunicators do not ask these questions because they are nosy. Their primary concern is to obtain as much information as is possible to expedite the emergency response by the public safety agency.  In most cases, the Telecommunicator you are speaking with is not responsible for dispatching the first responders and can continue to obtain vital information from you even while your call is being dispatched. 

Why wasn't my call dispatched immediately?

METCAD Telecommunicators assign a priority level to each incoming call for service based upon the information collected during the telephone call.  A call of an accident, for example, where the cars are all out of traffic might be assigned a priority level of 3, which is "next available beat car".  However, an accident with injuries would be assigned a priority level of 1, which indicates it is an emergency and a unit would be dispatched as soon as possible, even if they had to be called off of a lower priority call.  If it appears that any call for service must be held, for whatever reason, the shift commander for the appropriate agency is notified of the situation.

Is there a non-emergency phone number to reach METCAD for a non-life threatening call?

Yes, you can call 217/333-8911 if you have a non-emergency request for assistance.  Examples include noise complaints, parking problems, etc.

What is the difference between 9-1-1 and 217/333-8911?

Although answsered by the same group of dispatchers, 9-1-1 is reserved for emergencies and should not be used in a non-emergency situation.  9-1-1 is answered on a priority basis over 217/333-8911.

What should I do if I unintentionally dial 9-1-1?

First of all, don't panic, this happens on a regular basis.  Simply stay on the phone and explain to the METCAD Telecommunicator that the call was accidental.  They may ask a couple questions to verify everything is OK, but they're just trying to make sure you are OK.

Why did 9-1-1 call me back when I accidentally dialed 9-1-1 and hung up?

METCAD Telecommunicators are required to attempt to call back a number which dialed 9-1-1 and hung up.  If you do not answer, a police offcer may be dispatched to your location to determine if there is an emergency.  Many of these calls are accidental, so we ask that if you do accidentally dial 9-1-1, please stay on the line and explain this to the METCAD Telecommunicator.

Can I tour the 9-1-1 center?

As a general rule, the 9-1-1 center is closed to the public for security reasons.  However, we can grant some requests.  If you or your group have a specific request for a tour, please contact our offices at 217/333-4348.

The following list include the agencies which contract with METCAD 9-1-1 for direct dispatch. These agencies help to fund the METCAD operation through the membership contributions.

Metropolitan Area and Champaign County


City of Champaign (Our Lead Agency) *
Champaign Police
Champaign Fire
City of Urbana *
Urbana Police
Urbana Fire
University of Illinois *
University of Illinois Police
Champaign County
Champaign County Sheriff's Office
Champaign County Emergency Management Agency
Village of Rantoul Police
Village of Rantoul Fire

*Denotes Founding Agency --- 1979

Rural Law Enforcement


Village of Fisher Police
Village of Gifford Police
Village of Homer Police
Village of Ludlow Police
Village of Mahomet Police
Village of Thomasboro Police
Village of Tolono Police

Rural Fire Departments & Fire Protection Districts


Bondville Fire Department
Broadlands-Longview Fire Protection District
Carroll Fire Protection District
Cornbelt Fire Protection District
Eastern Prairie Fire Protection District
Edge Scott Fire Protection District
Gifford Fire Protection District
Homer Fire Protection District
Ivesdale Fire Protection District
Ludlow Fire Protection District
Ogden-Royal Fire Protection District
Pesotum Fire Department
Philo Fire Protection District
Sadorus Fire Protection District
Sangamon Valley Fire Protection District
Savoy Fire Department
Seymour Fire Department
Sidney Fire Protection District
St. Joseph Fire Protection District
Thomasboro Fire Protection District
Tolono Fire Department

METCAD is a consolidated dispatch center which was established in June of 1979 with 9 Telecommunicators and an Administrative staff of two. When established, METCAD served the Police Departments in Champaign, Urbana and the University of Illinois. In 1983, the Champaign County Sheriff's Office joined METCAD and in 1988 METCAD merged with FIRECOMM to consolidate fire and police dispatching services.

Today, METCAD answers emergency 9-1-1 calls for all of Champaign County. With a staff of 31 Telecommunicators, 2 Supervisors, 1 Operations Manager, 3 Technical Staff Members and 3 Administrative Staff Members, we provide direct dispatch service for all law enforcement and fire agencies through-out Champaign County.

METCAD is active in the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) as well as the Illinois Chapter of NENA (INENA). Likewise, we are active in the Association of Public safety Communications Officials (APCO) and the Illinois Chapter of APCO (IAPCO).  METCAD implemented a county-wide Enhanced 9-1-1 system on March 5, 1996.

METCAD is funded by contributions from member public safety agencies as well as a surcharge on each land line telephone and wireless device billed to an address in the county.  This surcharge helps pay for 9-1-1 services in Champaign County.