Columbus considers text message option for 911 system

Cell phone companies will launch the ability for their customers to text 911 during their emergencies, and Columbus police tell FOX 54 texting is the next generation of 911.

The text messages would be helpful if an intruder is in your home and you don't want to make a sound.  Another texting advantage is you can show a location you may not be familiar with. "You could turn around and give us a shot of the area, some buildings or something. And we may be able to recognize that location and get an officer to you," said Lt. Paul Ezell with the Columbus Police Department.

However there are some cons. "We [dispatch] won't be able to talk and hear the voice of the caller so you might have a situation where the situation is a lot more aggravated or where the caller is a lot more anxious that you won't be able to tell in a text message."

Every dispatch will use the same equipment they use with the hearing impaired. The text will come to dispatch through their computer program, and they will type responses back to you. Officials are making sure the vendors have all the kinks worked out, and the city will need to get the money for the upgrade.

Verizon Wireless is in the process of making the 911 text available to customers by 2013.  Lt. Ezell says at the latest Columbus expects to have the software to perform the 911 text is by Mid-2014.

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