This New Way Of Contacting The Police In An Emergency Could Save Your Life
It's a sad reality, but more and more police departments across the country are exploring 911 texting in the wake of the Orlando shootings.
Barely 650 dispatch centers out of the country's 6000-plus use an emergency text messaging service.
It's not more common because officials are concerned it would lead to an influx of non-emergency messages and delay response times, having a counter effect.
In some states, the service has been abused by pranksters. Last year, a girl was arrested at her home in Georgia after texting 911 saying there was an active shooter at a high school.
Many police departments that adopt the service, push the slogan, "Call if you can, text if you can't."
The impact of mass shootings has made officials look again at how these situations could benefit from the service.
When the Orlando horror unfolded, for example, a number of victims hid from the attacker and frantically messaged relatives asking them to call the police.
Eddie Justice texted his mom saying, "Call police, I'm gonna die." Then he sent another one reading, "Call them mommy. Now. He's coming."
The service has been pushed by politicians in the past. Senator Charles Schumer wants it in New York City. He believes the service could "save lives by informing 911 dispatchers of critical details that can guide first responders."
If 911 messaging is taken on nationwide, it is not clear how long it would take each dispatch center to roll out the service. But it is clear that the need for such a service has never been more real.