Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Office implements ‘text to 911′ capabilities

(Source: StoryBlocks)
(Source: StoryBlocks)(StoryBlocks)
Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 9:29 PM CDT
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LE CENTER, Minn. (KEYC) — The Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Office announced the introduction of its new “text to 911″ capabilities on Wednesday.

Used by county-level law enforcement agencies throughout Minnesota since 2017, the technology allows those who may have an emergency an opportunity to contact the Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Office without having to speak on the phone.

The implementation by law enforcement agencies across the country has proved as a great resource for those who are unable to safely make a voice call to 911, as well as anyone with a disability, such individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and those with other speech impairments.

Before Le Sueur County residents begin using the new service, there are some things they should know in order to have a successful text conversation with law enforcement.

First, anyone using the service should be prepared to share their location with the agency and describe the type of emergency they have when asked by a dispatcher.

Anyone using the “Text to 911″ service should use simple, easy to understand words and avoid using any abbreviations, emojis and pictures, including gifs.

Once contact with a dispatcher has been made, reporting parties may be asked if they can and/or are able to receive a call from the dispatcher or if the reporting party can call 911. The reason dispatchers would prefer to speak over the phone is because it enables them to provide real-time feedback and allows dispatchers to hear what may be going on.

There are also currently some flaws in the “Text to 911″ system that limit its capabilities. For instance, location coordinates received by the Le Sueur County Dispatch Center may not be as accurate as it can be with a voice call and texts may receive a bounce-back message if the cellphone is roaming or lacking proper coverage. In addition, the system has the standard 160-character limit for messages, meaning messages can sometimes be received out of order when broken down and sent. The “Text to 911” system also does not currently support a language translation service.

The Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Office and Dispatch Center said via a news release they are excited to begin utilizing the technology to better serve the community of Le Sueur County.

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