Text-in 911 system has benefits and drawbacks
Asia Ashley Staff Columnist
With the possibility of the county adopting a new text-in 911 system, one can only wonder if texting become the new norm for 911 callers?
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have voluntarily committed to provide text-to-911 service by May 15 in all areas served by their networks where a 911 call center is prepared to receive texts.
In today’s age where texting has become a more preferred and mostly used form of communication, cellphone users will likely choose to text in their emergencies, regardless of the severity of the emergency.
The text-in 911 could prove more convenient for most callers, more specifically those with a hearing impairment and those who need to remain discreet and quiet in potentially dangerous situations. However, would this lead to abuse of the system by others?
There would be a serious need tofor a button to push to “talk when you can and text when you can’t” concept.
People should consider the possible downfalls that could occur with using the text-in system.
Texting could be slower than voice calling. The time it would take an operator to direct and instruct a caller via voice calling could be much more quicker than to wait for a response via text message, which could delay police response time. This is considering that the caller is not descriptive enough and does not provide a location. For those that are wordy and descriptive in their emergency, the character limit in most text messages can not exceed 160 characters, so further details would be delayed until it could come through to the receiving end.
In a case of an extreme emergency, people are often frantic, causing them to shake or become unsteady. Imagine having to send a hurried text message that could include countless typos, abbreviations and slang making it unclear to the operator. This could ultimately confuse the operator, thus delaying timely information and dispatch.
The Troup County Commission will vote Tuesday on whether to fund $280, 478 for the system. Voting on the deal would be beneficial, however, the system’s should be monitored to prevent people from abusing the system.
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