By David Ponce
In a move that should have happened ages ago, a call center in the basement of the county jail in Waterloo, Iowa, became the first in the country to accept text messages sent to 911, starting last Wednesday. This is great for a range of people, not the least of which are the hard of hearing or the speaking impaired. We’re also thinking of teens who are unaware that their phones are also capable of taking voice calls.
Even though 911 callers can usually be located, texting technology does not allow this,
“That means i wireless subscribers who text 911 will get a reply asking them for the city or ZIP code they’re in. If the response corresponds to the Black Hawk County call center’s area, the text messages goes through to an operator. Otherwise the texter is told to call 911.
The call center’s operators are able to text back from their computers to conduct a conversation with the texter.