In 1971, the Berks County Commissioners began the Berks County Police Radio Net at the request of a group of municipal police agencies. The Berks County Communications Center began serving the public on August 1, 1981 when five (5) county fire companies joined the former Berks County Police Radio Net to begin a true multi-discipline Public Safety Communications Center. At this point, the Communications Center relocated from Reading City Hall to the basement of the County's Agricultural Center in Bern Township. In the spring of 1985, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were added to the system.
In January of 1988, planning for 9-1-1- service began in Berks County. The Communications Center was moved to the 18th and 19th floor of the Berks County Courthouse in Reading on June 12, 1989 and began using its first Computer-Aided Dispatching (CAD) system in July 1989. On Monday November 20, 1989 the new 9-1-1 system in Berks County went "live" for the first time. Ironically, that evening a severe storm passed through the area which inundated the new system with 444 calls! The new system was helmed by the five (5) telephone companies that covered Berks County; Bell of Pennsylvania, Conestoga Telephone Company, General Telephone Company, Commonwealth Telephone Company, and Contel Telephone Company. Although the 9-1-1 system was state-of-the art at the time, there were still areas on the perimeter of Berks County that were not covered by this new system. In addition to the County Communications Center, there were also six (6) independent dispatching centers in Berks County; Reading Police, Health Tec (Reading EMS), Zone 4 Communications Center (Wyomissing Fire and Police plus other fire departments in western and southern Berks County), Boyertown Communications (areas in and around Boyertown), and the two (2) Pennsylvania State Police Barracks within Berks County. The total number of calls for service in 1990 were 89,396.
1998: On October 21, the one millionth 9-1-1 call was received by the Communications Center (9-1-1 service began in 1988). The busiest day for the Communications Center was September 7, 1998 with 1306 calls.
2001: The Communications Center consisted of six (6) shift supervisors, 47 full-time telecommunicators, and approximately 20 part-time telecommunicators.
2008: The Communications Center was moved from the Courthouse to the Direct Link Technologies Center in Bern Township. During this year, the Berks County Communications Center was combined with the Berks County Emergency Management Agency to form the Department of Emergency Services.
2010: The Communications Center became the primary dispatch center for all municipal police departments (except Reading Police) within Berks County with the closure of the Wyomissing Borough Communications Center.
TODAY: Over 480,000 calls are answered each year by the staff of the Communications Center. Over 99.2% of these calls are answered in under ten (10) seconds. These calls resulted in over 230,000 dispatches of emergency service providers. The Communications Center dispatches 51 law enforcement organizations, 59 fire departments, and 15 EMS agencies. Today's staffing consists of a Senior Watch Officer, six (6) Watch Officers and over 60 full-time Telecommunicators.