Garden City Police Department Announces New 9-1-1 Texting Abilities


Mya DelaCruz, Writer

Did you know that a person is able to contact 911 through a phones messaging services? All that is needed is the number 911 in the bar for phone numbers when starting a new conversation. For the messages to work, the person will have to have an active telephone service plan with data. If a message is sent with no service, a message will be sent back to the person telling them to make a phone call.

Some situations where texting 911 is appropriate: deaf, hard of hearing callers, individuals with a speech impairment, someone who is unable to speak due to a medical or other condition, and emergencies that would put the caller in danger. Some examples of emergencies would include abduction, domestic violence, or active shooter situations.

Some guidelines to follow when contacting 911 through text are to provide the exact address or location, people always need to be aware of their location. Next the emergency and help needed needs to be explained thoroughly. A person needs to be prepared to respond and answer questions that the 911 communicator asks. Always remember to use plain language: no emojis, photos, abbreviations, and symbols. Keep the messages brief and to the point. This allows them to receive the information quickly in order for them to help as soon as possible.

Some enhancements the Garden City Police department has made include texts from 911- 911 centers can now initiate a two-way conversation to callers from RadiusPlus Map. There are also 70+ language translations and pre-configured messages. They have a tool called RapidLocate that allows responders to find the person directly through GPS data. OnStar Telematics data automatically collects OnStar crash data, alongside call data, directly on the call-takers map. Also, What3Words location allows a person to and the call-taker to view the persons location in a friendly format. Lastly, RapidVideo is a one-way video chat service. The person can intimate a video for the call-taker to understand what is happening more thoroughly. If making a call isn’t an option, TEXT!