The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is proud to be involved in the beginning of a new program for 9-1-1 services; “Call if you can, text if you can’t.” If you are in a serious situation where you are unable to call 9-1-1, you can send a text. This system is being launched in cooperation with the Maricopa Association of Governments and the Maricopa Region 9-1-1; who alongside members of the disability community, worked tirelessly to identify a solution to make Text to 9-1-1 a reality.
Voice calling is always the best option, but if an individual is in a situation where being overheard is dangerous, the texting option provides a safer alternative to contact emergency services. This new program also provides an option for those who have a disability that makes voice calling difficult or impossible, allowing them to easily and efficiently contact emergency services.
The new system was purchased in 2017 and training for public safety call center personnel has been completed over the past several months to be ready for this launch. Today, the new program is in place and users will be able to send text messages to 9-1-1.
Currently, group texts and translation services are not available, and users should be aware that they will need to write in their location as text messages do not provide a location. MCSO is one of the many emergency service providers participating in the new program in Maricopa County.