Willis Carter began an active career in the fire service in April of 1972 when he joined the over 500 men who at that time made up the Shreveport Fire Department in Shreveport, Louisiana. He began his career as a firefighter, however was quickly intrigued by the role of what was then called the Fire Alarm Center, the early precursor to today's Emergency Communications Centers. In 1978 Willis requested and received a transfer to the Alarm Center as a Jr. Fire Alarm Operator a position he maintained until 1985 when he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Chief in charge of the Communications Section. Carter served in that position until his retirement in 2008. During his tenure, Carter was responsible for the management and operations of the Fire Emergency Communications Center and the Information Technology Division with a combined staff of forty seven. The communications center with a staff of 40 Telecommunicators, continues to serve today as the primary answering point for Caddo Parish 9-1-1, answering over 300,000 calls to 9-1-1 annually.
In 2000, Willis co-authored the "Firefighters Handbook," published in 2000 by Delmar Publishing, He led his department during the development and implementation of the two computer aided dispatch systems, the transition to a co-located multi-agency emergency parish wide dispatch center and his departments migration to a parish wide 800MHz radio system which today supports over 5000 users. He also lead the successful effort to achieve national accreditation for his communications center and in July of 2006 the Shreveport Fire Department, Fire Communications Division became the first fire communications center in the nation to receive the coveted Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies "Public Safety Communications Accreditation Program". Carter remains an avid supporter of CALEA’s Accreditation program and served as an assessment team leader for several years.
An active member of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, Inc., (APCO) since 1985, he was elected to the post of Second Vice President of APCO International in 2004 and served as the 74th President of APCO International from 2007-2008. He was inducted as a “Life Member” of APCO International and a “Fellow” in the Radio Club of America in 2008.
After his retirement in 2008 Carter formed Willis T. Carter, LLC, offering public safety communications center consulting and management services. His company currently provides a complete package of 9-1-1 management services to the Natchitoches Parish, La. Communications District. In 2012, Willis joined two longtime friends and colleagues and together they formed Presidential-Partners Consulting, LLC., a firm which offers a variety of public safety communications related services.
Willis, and his wife Martha, have two sons and seven grand-kids. They live on the banks of a Louisiana bayou known by friends as the “Redneck Riviera”…