“We’re always going to encourage people to call 911 just because we get better location information from that, we can obtain information a lot quicker from a caller and all of our 911 operators go through extensive training where we listen to things like background noise and we’re able to obtain a lot more information about the call from that but unfortunately there’s situation where that’s not an option,” said Dawn Hill, dispatch supervisor. “Such as an active shooter or a domestic violence situation so we want to look at what we can do to provide to our community to keep them safe.”
“I know of one incident we had, I think it was last year. It was a domestic situation and the victim was hiding in the bathroom and she had dialed 911 but she was afraid to speak,” said Cmdr. Mike Wilson with the St. Joseph Police Dept. “This would give an option to let the officers know or let the first responders know that she was there and needed assistance.”
Hill said the overall benefit to the community mostly will be will be for the speech and hearing impaired members.
“Currently they have to go through a third party service to get emergency services,” Hill said. “This will provide that service to the part of our community with disabilities where they can access emergency services in a more timely manner.”
Cmdr. Wilson said the texting option is not available just yet. He said currently staff is getting trained on it and working with the software but he hopes to have it up and running by early spring.
“When the text comes in to the 911 it will pop up on our screen and we can do our call taking through text just like we do a voice call,” Hill said.