Minnesota Implements 'Text 911' Option

December 05, 2017 07:25 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Starting on Tuesday, Minnesotans have a new way to get help in an emergency. 

Lt. Jeff Stilwell with the Rochester Police Department says he state officially started using "Text to 911" technology for situations where talking would put people at risk.


“We've seen or heard nationwide about these cases where somebody might be grabbed and stuffed in the back of a car or something and now they still have their phone but they know they can't call," said Lt. Stilwell. 

It will also benefit people with hearing loss, and people who are involved in situations like a home invasion or kidnapping.

Communications manager, Melissa Burns, with the Rochester Police Department says the technology has been in the works now for a few years.

"It’s as easy as texting your friends and family. In the message, you type in the information as far as location, what your emergency is. And it is answered in our dispatch center just as any other 911 call would be," said Burns.

For now, Rochester’s dispatch is in charge of routing all the texts from the southeast region.

"I think it's mostly about using it for the right. It's not for routine matters. It's an emergency system. And again, just like the 911 phone line," said Lt. Stilwell.

Its technology of the future that can help keep you safe added Stilwell, “Obviously the way people communicate now is through text and different methods so I think embracing technology to help accomplish the mission is a great idea."

If you do text, Public Safety officials say to keep your words simple.



Roxanne Elias

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