Greenville County Launches Program To Let Verizon Text To 911
GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. -
Sheriff Steve Loftis announced that Greenville County is the first agency in South Carolina to let you text 911 from Verizon cell phones. The new program went online Monday, November 18th at 8:00am. Greenville County is the first in the state to use the texting technology---technology Evelyn Young says is necessary.
“If the suspect is right beside you and you aren't able to talk you can easily send out a text and they won't be able to hear you in the closet or wherever,” said Young.
Young says she once lived with an abusive boyfriend, and there were times she wished she had the opportunity to text help instead of call.
The Greenville County Sheriff's Office says the texting option works well for situations where a phone call would put you in danger like a nearby active shooter, a kidnapping or home invasion.
“The criminal can hear what you are saying,” said homeowner John Neely. “If you are calling the criminal can hear what you are saying so they can get away. If you want them to get caught, texting is a great thing because it is a silent mode."
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile agreed with the FCC to set up a temporary text-to-911 service by May 15, 2014. It’s called “temporary” until the standards for the delivery on next generation 911 calls are fully developed.
This new announcement means Verizon customers in Greenville County can text 911. Other wireless customers will get a "bounce back notification" letting you know text-to-911 is not available on your carrier.
Sheriff Loftis says the best way to receive timely emergency service is to dial 911 and speak with a call taker directly. Text-to-911 provides an alternative for the hearing and speech impaired as well as those situations where a voice call to 911 might place the caller in jeopardy.
A spokesperson for the Spartanburg County Communications says the county is currently working with Verizon to get their text-to-911 program up and running. County leaders are working to make sure there are no glitches.
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