The Sheriff’s Office made the technology available countywide to all residents, business owners and visitors starting January 26. Dispatch centers will be provided caller information and coordinate police, medical and fire services.
The service is meant to ensure 911 services are provided equally throughout the county to those in the hard of hearing community, the speech impaired, or those whose situations do not allow them to safely call 911. Traditional 911 services have been updated and integrated with the digital capabilities of smart phones, including SMS messaging and texting.
Oakland Community College Public Safety Director Terry McCauley asks that you “Make a phone call when you can, text when you can’t.”
Dispatchers still need valuable information, most importantly, a person’s location as texting does not currently have the ability to accurately identify a texting person’s location.
At this time only Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint customers can text to 911. Only cellular phones with data plans that allow for texting can Text to 911.
Text to 911 IS a 911 “call” and should only be used for emergencies.