Text-to-911 Off to Slow Start in Stearns County
ST. CLOUD -- Almost two months in to a statewide campaign, law enforcement centers are adjusting to the new way to receive 9-1-1 calls.
Back in December, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety launched the text 9-1-1 service to allow dispatchers to accept text messages for emergency situations.
Mary Lieser is the Stearns County Public Safety Services Supervisor. She says with their current set up, all text-to-911 calls are being taken through the Mille Lacs County Dispatch Center.
"If they receive a call and can determine the location, they transfer the information to us. Most of it's done on the phone in a three-way call. Or if it's not an emergency they can finish the call and then call us with the information."
Lieser says they were expecting to see more text-to-911 calls to start then what they are currently seeing.
"When the campaign started in December we thought we would get a lot more phone calls, but it's off to a slower start. However, Mille Lacs County may says that's different as they take the calls."
Stearns County does plan to add the ability to receive text-to-911 calls in the future. Lieser says while they will take text emergency calls, actual phone calls are still the best in an emergency situation.
From October through December last year the Stearns County Dispatch Center took over 15,000 9-1-1 calls.