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News : Indy 911 Call Center Ready to Receive Texts
Indianapolis, IN, USA, Oct 21, 2015 -- You can now use your cell phone to possibly save your life or someone else’s. The 911 call center is providing the option of texting or calling for police, fire, and medical assistance.
Many of today's younger generation can text as fast as they talk. But in the heat and the stress of the moment, the spoken word goes deeper than the digital.
"We want descriptions. We want a lot more information than you’re going to be able to provide in a text. So, it's always better, it's always faster that we get a phone call," Lt. Col. Bart McAtee with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.
When a phone call isn't an option, as in a crime in progress or a violent domestic situation, a text message can also bring help.
"If someone texts us, it shows up here. We can activate all the consoles," McAtee said.
The caller sends a conventional text with 911 as the address. Within seconds, the message reaches a 911 operator who can respond with a number of preprogrammed messages that can elicit more information.
"So, I'll access it. And then it's going to show me a map of where you are, along with your latitude and longitude," McAtee said.
The 911 center received 1.3 million calls last year. But last week, during a takeover robbery of a southeast side CVS by four armed gunman, an employee dialed 911 then set the phone down without saying a word. Another employee or even a customer could have texted without alerting or to drawing attention to themselves.
"The detective said, had the 911 operator tried to talk, there's no doubt those employees in the CVS would have been harmed or killed," McAtee said.
Over time, the 911 center technology will become more refined and accurate. With a younger generation texting, digital 911 will become an even more important tool in the future.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, October 23, 2015