Gibson County Introduces New 911 Text Service

Published 02/26 2014 10:32PM

Updated 02/26 2014 10:42PM

"We think that someday it could save somebody's life, and that's our business." Sending a text message could save your life in Gibson County.

The 911 text service is now in effect. Gibson County Sheriff George Ballard says, it was no cost through the Indiana 911 Board to provide the service. Sheriff Ballard says, it's very important to understand how the service works. In this case, 911 will initiate the text.

It's a situation you hope to never be in. "911 what's your emergency?" If you are ever faced with an emergency, what if you could get the help you need, without having to say a word? "We can start a text messaging conversation with you. That's new. It's really twenty-first century technology," says Gibson County Sheriff George Ballard.

He says you can now text your emergency to central dispatch. "They don't have to say a word. They can put there address in, and we can pull that up on a map, and see exactly where they are so we can get them emergency service."

Ballard says they are rare situations, but this service could apply if you're ever the victim of a home invasion, or are unable to speak or hear. Here's how it works: You're going to dial 911 from your cell phone, then a dispatcher will answer the phone. "911 what's your emergency." I'm not going to say anything. I'm going to hang up my phone and that's when the dispatch will call me back. For the second time, I will say nothing then hang up. That is what initiates the text message service.

Dispatcher, Roy Bridges, says day one of the new service has been a success. "It's extremely user friendly. It didn't take any time today training or anything like that."

To protect and serve, there has to be room for change. "When eighty-two percent of your 911 calls are coming in on cell phones, things have got to improve, and technology has got to continue to move forward," says Sheriff Ballard.





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