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Posted on: April 3, 2018

Text to 911 Now Operational

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People in Apache Junction, along with residents of much of the Phoenix metropolitan area, can now reach 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers by text message.


A news conference announcing the new service was held Monday in Phoenix by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) with representatives of the Maricopa Region 9-1-1, public agencies that work with members of the disability community, the Arizona Center for Disability Law and the National Association of the Deaf. Most of the public safety dispatch locations in the metro area will now have the ability to receive a text message via 9-1-1.

Apache Junction Police Communications Manager Jerry Ward gave some direction for the public. He said that texting to 9-1-1 should only be used if you cannot call 9-1-1 and speak to a telecommunications officer.

His recommendations for when to text:

If the user is deaf or hard of hearing.

If the user has a speech impediment.

If the user is a victim of a crime and cannot risk being heard talking on the phone.

If a person uses text to 9-1-1, they should know that their location will not automatically be provided to the dispatcher, Ward said. Therefore, text messages should include where you are and can only be sent in English at this time. It is very important to answer the telecommunication officer’s questions as quickly as possible and be concise.

MAG and the Maricopa Region 9-1-1 collaborated to arrange for funding and the purchase of the system in August 2017. All dispatch personnel have been trained and are ready to begin using the new tool.

For more information on the new text to 911 system, including frequently asked questions, click here http://azmag.gov/Newsroom/Article/22038.

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