One of the most important aspects of a police service is its ability to communicate both with the
public and with its own members. The telephone was installed in the Police Station as soon as it
was available in Calgary in 1886, but the daytime service was of little use for the first year. As
the telephone became a more reliable fixture it also became the citizen's main means of
contacting the police. Since the first multi-line switchboard was installed in 1919, the police
have constantly upgraded and reorganized the telephone system. To ensure quick access in times
of crisis, an emergency line to the police (Amherst 1-1111) was installed in 1960. By 1970, this
emergency service was expanded to include fire and ambulance, and the number 911 was
In this photograph of the Calgary Police Signal Room, taken ca. 1920, the constable is sitting at a
switchboard that could handle up to eight calls. The equipment in the background was for the
operation of the 67 call boxes.
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