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Thu, Oct. 29

Can't call? Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office announces start of Text-to-9-1-1

You can now text to law enforcement if you can't call and need help. (Courier stock image)

You can now text to law enforcement if you can't call and need help. (Courier stock image)

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and its law enforcement partners throughout the county have announced that a “Text-to-9-1-1” service is now available countywide.

Partnering agencies include police departments in Clarkdale, Jerome, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, Cottonwood, Sedona, Yavapai Tribal-Prescott, Yavapai Tribal-Apache, Yavapai College along with the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office and Prescott National Forest Law Enforcement.

“This new technology means all 9-1-1 Public Safety Dispatch Centers in Yavapai County are equipped to receive and respond to mobile phone Text-to-9-1-1 messages from our community,” states a news release from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. “These texts will be routed to the appropriate 9-1-1 center, based on jurisdiction, when sent within Yavapai County.

The Sheriff’s Office asks that citizens review all information thoroughly to understand how the system works and its limitations.

“Individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing members of the community, or those in a situation where it is too dangerous to dial 9-1-1, will have another option to call for help in an emergency, Text-to-9-1-1,” the release adds. “The benefits to our citizens are significant, especially in cases when the caller cannot communicate verbally. Examples include not only the hard of hearing, but also when a crime is in progress, the caller is facing domestic abuse, the caller is injured and cannot speak, or other similar scenarios.”

The Sheriff’s Office stresses that even where text-to-9-1-1 is available, if a person can make a voice call to 9-1-1, “please call instead of texting.”

How to text 9-1-1 in an emergency:

• Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field.

• The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and the type of help needed.

• Push the “Send” button.

• Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.

• Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations.

• Keep text messages brief and concise.

If you use a wireless phone or other type of mobile device, callers should make sure to do the following in an emergency:

• If you can, always contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call, “Call if you can – text if you can’t.”

• If you are deaf and hard of hearing and Text-to- 9-1-1 is not available, use a TTY or telecommunications relay service, if available.

• If you text 9-1-1 and text is not available at that time or in your area, you will receive a bounce back message advising “text is not available please make a voice call to 9-1-1.”

• Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon. Be prepared to give your location.

• Text-to-9-1-1 service will not be available if the wireless carrier cannot ascertain a location of the device sending the message.

• Text-to-9-1-1 is not available if you are roaming.

• A text or data plan is required to place a text to 9-1-1.

• Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1. They cannot be received at the 9-1-1 center currently.

• Text messages should be sent in plain language and not contain popular abbreviations (SMH, LOL, ICYMI) or emojis, which will not be recognized.

• Text-to- 9-1-1 cannot be sent to more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.

• Texts must be in English only. There currently is no language interpretation for text available. This is still in development.

More information about the Text-to-911 program is available by contacting the 9-1-1- Center for your jurisdiction:

• Prescott Regional Communications Center for the Town of Prescott Valley, City of Prescott, Yavapai Tribal Police, Yavapai College Police and U.S Dept. of Veteran Affairs. Call 928-777-1900.

• For the Town of Chino Valley and all unincorporated areas in Yavapai County. Call 928-771-3260.

• Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office for the Town of Chino Valley and all unincorporated areas in Yavapai County. Call 928-771-3260.

• Cottonwood Police Department for the City of Cottonwood. Call 928-634-4246.

• Camp Verde Marshal’s Office for the Town of Camp Verde, Town of Clarkdale and Jerome. Call 928-554-8300.

• Sedona Police Department for the City of Sedona. Call 928-282-3100.

Information provided by the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

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