Emergency ‘txt to 911’ service brings quick responses

By Dave Marner, Managing Editor
Posted 5/26/21

Two county residents using “txt to 911” services available in Gasconade County this month received emergency assistance although they were unable to speak to dispatchers.

In the May 6 …

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Emergency ‘txt to 911’ service brings quick responses

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Two county residents using “txt to 911” services available in Gasconade County this month received emergency assistance although they were unable to speak to dispatchers.

In the May 6 incident, a young person texted 911 dispatchers that a “dangerous man” was in his house. On May 20, a woman texted she had been physically abused, fallen, and possibly broken a leg.

“Both calls pin-pointed the location and a phone number for each texter,” said Lisa Schlottach, director of the Gasconade County E-911 program. “Once they text, our center captures it on an internet program, and we text back-and-forth on our program.”

In the youth’s situation, a man who once lived at the Route F residence had returned seeking personal belongings which, as it turned out, had already been disposed of. He left the scene without further incident, according to a deputy’s response to the dispatcher. The incident was resolved as a “misunderstanding” within 20 minutes of the initial text received at 5:15 p.m.

In the second incident, two dispatchers communicated via at least nine text messages to the woman over a 10-minute period. Dispatchers learned the woman had thought she had secured a ride to the hospital but her car was broken down. Her husband was not armed but was on scene. 

Deputies responding to the call off of Route E eventually took the man into custody by 11:50 p.m. after he had gone back into the residence and refused to come out. He faces charges for domestic assault and resisting arrest.

“I want to promote this again to the community,” said Schlottach of the txt to 911 service available here. “In both cases they couldn’t talk to the dispatcher as the perpetrator was there. Our system showed the correct location and phone number of the cell phone.”

Schlottach went on to note, “Not all 911 centers offer this to their community and I think it is so important. The state board is pushing for all PSAP’s (911 centers) to offer the service and the state is improving but there are still many without it.”

She provided a link to the state 911 system’s map of txt to 911 availability. View it at https://www.missouri911.org/textto911/consumer.

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