Dickinson County Courthouse, Spirit Lake, Iowa

911 Administration

The administration of the Dickinson County 911 system is overseen by the emergency management coordinator. Responsibilities include overseeing the 911 telephone system, computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, the public safety radio system, and the rural addressing system.

As of January 1, 2023, the Emergency Management Commission has assumed the duties of the 911 Service Board as allowed by Iowa Code 29C.9a and 34A.3A.

Our 911 dispatchers work under the authority of the Dickinson County Sheriff's Office.

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Location, Location, Location

The first question a 911 dispatcher will ask is "What is the location of your emergency?" Being able to provide your location will mean a quicker response by emergency personnel. If you have to call 911, be ready to provide an address, intersection, or highway number with mile marker.

Funding of the 911 System

The day-to-day operations of the 911 system in Dickinson County are funded by landline and wireless surcharge funds.
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Landline Surcharge

Iowa Code 34A states that each landline telephone in Iowa shall pay an amount of $1 per month. The telephone companies collect and remit the surcharge directly to the Dickinson County 911 Service Board for all landlines located within Dickinson County. The same code section restricts the usage of these funds only for equipment used in the receipt and disposition of a 911 call - that is, any equipment needed to receive, process, and dispatch the call.

Wireless (Cellular) Surcharge

Iowa Code also states that each cell phone subscriber shall pay a 911 surcharge in the amount of $1 per month. These funds, however, are handled differently. Wireless surcharge funds are paid to the State of Iowa. The state 911 office pays for the necessary equipment to receive and direct each cellular 911 call to the proper dispatch center. Of all of the wireless funds collected by the State, they are required to send 60% back to local service boards. Those funds are divided up based on land area covered by the dispatch center (in our case, all of Dickinson County) and the number of 911 calls received - with a formula that's weighted toward land area (65%) versus call volume (35%).

2023 Statistics

Landline/VOIP 911 Calls

Cellular 911 Calls

Calls for Service Dispatched

Non-911 Phone Calls

In Town

  • Post your house numbers so that they are clearly visible from the street
  • Make sure your house numbers are of a contrasting color to the house
    Be sure to keep all trees, bushes and other plants trimmed so they do not block the view of your house numbers
  • If your house sits too far from the road, have a house marker sign installed at the end of the driveway
  • Most communities have an ordinance requiring house numbers — links to these ordinances are below.

In Unincorporated Areas

  • Make sure your green house marker sign is posted and clearly visible from both directions on the road
  • Be sure to keep all trees, bushes and other plants trimmed so they do not block the view of your sign
  • Rural signs should be installed so that they sit perpendicular to the roadway — that is, so that they can be viewed from both directions as you approach the driveway
  • At night, check to make sure it reflects properly — if it does not, request a replacement
  • You may put numbers on your mailbox, but you are still required to have an official green address marker sign posted - Note: The green signs you can buy at many department and hardware stores are not the official sign that is required — you can get the official sign from the 911 office only
  • County ordinance requires all homes to have an official house marker sign posted

City Ordinances

Nearly all cities in Dickinson County, as well as the County itself, have an ordinance stating that residents shall have their house number displayed. If you live inside city limits, contact your city hall for more information.