Text-to-911 is being rolled out in Richardson, Texas

A North Texas city is the latest to utilize Text-to-911, which enables citizens to send emergency text messages to safety agencies. According to PoliceOne, Richardson, Texas began training its callers on the system just last week.

“We’ve got to be able to support the public’s expectation, and our focus from a national and a local perspective is 911 from any device at any time,” said Richardson communications manager Liz Cole, who added that this was “a journey, not a destination.”

As PoliceOne reports, officials always prefer people to call, but they want to give citizens the option of texting as well.

“It’s set up for people in situations that talking on the phone would be dangerous to their being,” said Waxahachie dispatch supervisor Marie Stevens. “It’s set up to where they can text us now on 911 … if they’re hiding or something like that with somebody in the house.”

According to PoliceOne, the text-to-911 system also helps the deaf and hearing-impaired.

“We have heard some bad stories of deaf and hard of hearing people struggling to connect to 911 through relay services in times of emergency, especially via mobile devices,” said Andrew Phillips, an attorney for the National Association of the Deaf. “We believe that being able to text 911 will make 911 easier to reach and more accessible.”

Text-to-911 system will be fully operational in Richardson, Texas by the end of the summer, PoliceOne reported.

Authorities are hopeful they will eventually receive data such as photos and videos of crimes during texts. “If our officers can get to a scene with a picture of what’s going on there that’s sent to them while they’re en route, can you imagine how important that is going to be?” Richardson Chief Jim Spivey said.

Read more: http://www.policeone.com

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