Can you send text message to 911?

Oakland County works to make texting to 911 possible


OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – All across metro Detroit, if you text 911 you receive this message: "Please make a voice call to 911. There is no text service to 911 available at this time."

However, on Thursday major cellphone service carriers Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T went online with a federal mandate that their service would include the capability to text an emergency to 911.

One question: Will your local police actually get your 911 text?

"Today we actually signed the final contract to bring 911 texting here to Oakland County," said Mel Maier, the chief of communications at the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

It's the final contract with a communications company to integrate technology in the Oakland County 911 center for the public to be able to text an emergency directly to a dispatcher.

Maier said text to 911 is for the hearing impaired. It's also for anyone in a situation where calling 911 is dangerous.

"There may be a time where you have to do it because it would endanger you (to call), you have to text. It may be an active shooter incident. It may be a domestic incident," said Maier.

In Detroit, where there are a lot of 911 calls, texting isn't practical, according to city officials. Warren police say they are 18 months away from texts to 911.

"I mean, everybody texts now, 70-year-old ladies text," said Stefan Bahri, of T-Mobile.

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