MARION, IL (KFVS) - Southern Illinois counties received national recognition Wednesday for 911 Call Center system.
Wednesday evening, the Next Generation 911 Institute held their annual 911 awards ceremony in Washington D.C.
The counties of southern Illinois were presented the "Outstanding 911 Call Center/Program" award, saying that the next Generation 911 in the southern Illinois area is the first advanced 911 system of its kind in the U.S.
This 911 system not only accepts 911 calls, but text messages, automatic crash notifications from vehicles with systems like "On Star," pictures and streaming video.
Officials say all the different emergency telephone system boards in individual counties worked together for eight years to get the system going.
15 southern Illinois counties and the city of Marion are part of the group that formed to get the project started. Several other counties have joined the group since then.
Taking about three years to build the internet bases system, officials say it went live in 2014.
The conversion to the Next Generation 911 system began in December 2014 with Jackson County and was followed in January of 2015 by Saline, Gallatin, Union, Williamson and the city of Marion.
Perry County was connected in February 2015, followed by Johnson, Pulaski and Alexander counties.
The last four counties were Clay, Richland, Wabash and White were completed in late June 2015.
Much of it was paid for by grants, state funding, and local taxes.
911 coordinators from all over southern Illinois were there to accept the award.
NG911 experts say what they've done in southern Illinois is a model for other rural areas of the country.
The NG911 Institute is a not-for-profit group that lobbies Congress to get advanced and effective 911 technology services throughout the nation.