68 Op. Att'y Gen. 165 (1979)
 
68 OAG 165  166  167  END

Wisconsin Attorney General Opinions

Opinion # OAG 58-79

16 May 1979.

Counties; Municipalities; Telephone;

If all the municipalities in Milwaukee County
establish their own system or combine with
several other municipalities to establish a
system with a central location, Milwaukee
County would be required to establish a
system which connects with all central
locations of the emergency telephone
systems established in the county.

It is possible that a mandamus proceeding
could be instituted against public officials
to obtain compliance with the provisions of
the statute.

ROBERT P. RUSSELL,
Corporation Counsel Milwaukee County

You state that Section 146.70, Stats.,
created by Chapter 392, Laws of 1977,
requires, among other things, that every
"public agency" establish and maintain within
its respective jurisdiction a basic or
sophisticated emergency telephone system.

As you also state, Section 146.70(1)(f),
Stats., provides that "public agency" means
any municipality as defined in Section
345.05(1)(a), Stats., which provides or is
authorized to provide fire fighting, law
enforcement, ambulance, medical or other
emergency services.

Section 345.05(1)(a), Stats., reads as
follows:

   "Municipality" means any county, city,
   village, town, school district (as
   enumerated in Section 67.01(1)), sewer
   district, drainage district and, without
   restriction because of failure of
   enumeration, any other political
   subdivision of the state.

You then state that Milwaukee County is
completely made up of nineteen
municipalities, each of which provides
fire fighting, law enforcement and other
emergency services.

You then ask my opinion as to what
responsibility Milwaukee County has,
if any, toward the implementation of
a 911 emergency telephone system
within Milwaukee County.

68 OAG 165  166  167  END

Subsections (d) and (e) of
Section 146.70(2), Stats., provide:

   146.70(2)(d)

   Public agencies, including agencies with
   different territorial boundaries, may
   combine to establish a basic or
   sophisticated system as required by this
   section.

146.70(2)(e)

   If a public agency or group of public
   agencies combined to establish an
   emergency phone system under Paragraph
   146.70(2)(d) has a population of 250,000
   or more, such agency or group of
   agencies shall establish a sophisticated
   system by December 31, 1987.

A note to the proposed bill pertaining to
Section 146.70(2)(d), Stats., which contained
the same language, reads as follows:

   NOTE: Since federal policy recommends
   implementation of 911 by the year 1985,
   every public agency, except a State
   agency, will be involved in a 911
   system.

   It does not seem reasonable to expect
   each agency to have a separate 911
   system.

   Therefore, agencies are encouraged to
   combine together to form a central 911
   agency wherever practical.

   Political boundaries and telephone
   exchange boundaries may greatly
   influence the type of 911 system each
   agency adopts.

   On the other hand, a large community may
   well find it advantageous to divide
   their area into zones to better serve
   their emergency problems.

   It is the intent of this legislation to
   permit each agency to participate in a
   911 program best suited to its own local
   needs.

   It is clear that all the municipalities
   in Milwaukee County could combine and
   establish a sophisticated system under
   the jurisdiction of the county.

   On the other hand, each municipality could
   establish its own system or combine with
   several other municipalities to establish a
   system with a designated central location.

   It would appear to be desirable that only one
   system be established under the jurisdiction
   of Milwaukee County, but that is a matter for
   the county and municipalities to determine.

68 OAG 165  166  167  END

   It is clear that Section 146.70, Stats., does
   not require every public agency to establish
   a separate emergency telephone system.

   Nevertheless, every public agency must
   participate in the emergency services
   telephone system.

   In the event that all municipalities in
   Milwaukee County either establish their own
   system or combine with several other
   municipalities to establish a system with a
   designated central location, it is my opinion
   that Milwaukee County would be required to
   establish a system which connects with all
   the central locations of the emergency
   telephone systems established in Milwaukee
   County.

   Thus, this would enable Milwaukee County to
   provide assistance when called upon.

You also inquire as to what the penalty would
be for failure to establish an emergency
telephone system.

You are correct that there is no penalty
provision contained in the statute in this
regard; however, it is possible that a proper
person or party could institute a mandamus
proceeding against public officials to
require compliance with the provisions of the
statute.

BCL:GBS

68 OAG 165  166  167  END