Boulder County Dispatch now accepting texts to 911 in case of emergencies

BOULDER, Colo. - Starting Thursday, the Boulder County Dispatch will start accepting text messages to 911.

Dispatchers see texts on their computers as people in Boulder County send them in. The reason they are allowing this is so people who may not be able to call can reach 911 in an emergency.

"Our hope is that, if we have a caller that's it's unsafe for them to make a call, or if they have bad service, then we'll be able to take a text from them," said Michael Radden, supervisor at the Boulder Communications Center.

911 could receive texts from low service areas like the mountains, or even help the speech or hearing impaired.

"In the past, if we didn't know where somebody was, we might have to send multiple deputies," Radden said. "Possibly a fire district out to do a general sweep of the area."

Dispatchers prefer calls to their center. Taking a call is faster and more efficient to help emergency responders. However, they know texting could be a useful tool to save lives.

"If you're able to call us, then please do," Radden said. "But if you need to text us, if you're unsafe or don't feel safe calling. That's what the service is there for."

Dispatchers are asking people who want to text to give their location first and not use slang so there are no errors in communication.

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