Doniphan County is latest to add text to 911 service

Sep. 25—Text to 911 services are now becoming a norm even in rural counties, and Doniphan County, Kansas, has made the seamless transition to adding the technology.

Residents in the county coverage area can text to 911 in an emergency, something that's valuable in situations where a caller wouldn't want to alert someone that he or she is in contact with police by speaking on the phone.

Jackie Mott, an overnight dispatcher at the Doniphan County Sheriff's Office, said she already has responded to several text to 911 calls. She said it has not been a difficult process and emergency crews can respond just as quickly as they can with a phone call.

"We've had it (text to 911) happen quite a few times ... and it's actually helped us out. We can ping location a lot better than we would on a phone call," Mott said.

When a 911 to text is sent to Mott or any other dispatcher, they can get on the keyboard to message back and a location from the cellphone is automatically pinged back to the dispatcher. The method is growing commonplace for such services to be available in Kansas and Missouri.

"Given what someone's situation might be, it might be easier for them to text than it is to call depending on their location. Sometimes people can't call due to their service but they can text and that tends to help them out," Mott said.

The office has had several events to get the word out about the 911 to text service now being available.

Clayton Anderson can be reached at Follow him on twitter: @NPNowAnderson.