Text-To-911 Service Now Available To Minnesotans
As of today Minnesotans are now able to reach 911 without making the call.
"What a great tool that the state has come out with. It's about 20% of our constituents in Minnesota that do need this," Waseca County sheriff Brad Milbrath said.
Relying on a text message that will reach dispatchers in situations when phone conversations become difficult or impossible.
"Crimes may be in progress and they're not able to talk or if it's not safe for them to talk or if they're hearing impaired or if they're speech disabled in any way it will help in those situations," Blue Earth County Lt. Dan Davidson said.
But Lt. Davidson says a call should still be the first choice for most people.
"A dispatcher who's able to talk to you on the phone is still far better. They're able to establish your location right away. It's much quicker. They're able to access the information on what's going on at the scene and they're going to be able to get you help much quicker," Davidson said.
With over 100 dispatch centers in Minnesota, only six regions across the state are able to receive the messages.
"We've worked with Waseca County and they're going to be our answering point for the 911 calls here in Mankato, and they're going to relay the information back and forth," Davidson said.
"All the text messages that come in Blue Earth, Watonwan, Le Sueur, McCloud County, all will come into Waseca County. Then we'll give that information to those counties through dispatch," Milbrath said.
But if texting happens to become your only option in an emergency situation, Milbrath says it's important to deliver the specifics.
"What the situation is. What their address is. Where they're texting from. We need very detailed information to be able to find them and get the proper people to them right away," he said.
Davidson says Blue Earth County won't receive text-to-911 calls directly until their equipment is updated within the next couple of years.
Minnesota is the eighth state to launch the text-to-911 service.