MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Shelby County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that people in all parts of Shelby County and unincorporated county areas can now text 911 in the case of an emergency. It’s still important to make a phone call to 911 if you can, but this option can be helpful to victims in dangerous situations, the hearing impaired, and those with speech impediments.
Wanda Taylor, executive director of Ladies In Need Can Survive, Inc, said in many situations domestic violence victims cannot easily make a phone call to 911 to get help. She is applauding this new feature for its accessibility in these sometimes dangerous situations.
“You’re hysterical, for one, when you’re calling, and you’re crying and you’re trying to provide them with information as fast as possible,” Taylor said.
As a domestic violence survivor herself, she said calling 911 isn’t always an option. Texting can allow the victim to get help discreetly, because giving details over the phone near the abuser can’t always happen
“Not only is it under the radar a lot of women stand a chance of surviving,” Taylor said.
Captain Anthony Buckner of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said this option will help people in a multitude of ways.
“If someone is able to text and the phone is either taken or shut off, we’re still able to at least figure out where was that person’s last location and what type of emergency is happening,” Buckner said.
Buckner said it’s always important to be as detailed as possible in the text you send 911 dispatchers. He added could also be helpful in areas with bad cell service where a call can drop, but a text can be sent.
“This is another tool in the tool bag to provide public safety for the community in which we serve,” Buckner said.