If you need help in Butler County but can't call 911 for some reason, now you can send a text. The Butler County Sheriff's Office says it is now capable of receiving text messages from "most areas of Butler County" requesting emergency services.
In a statement, Sheriff Richard Jones says, "This will be a great way to make contact with someone in a domestic situation or in situations where a victim is in fear of someone hearing their voice. Call 911 in an emergency when you can. Text 911 when you can’t."
The texts will go to dispatchers at the emergency communications center who have the capability to respond via text message. Dispatchers may also use the technology to send messages to people who call 911 but hang up before reaching someone. The statement notes this will help dispatchers determine if there really is an emergency.
While wireless carriers can sometimes include a person's location when a text is received, the Sheriff's office says "it is absolutely imperative that callers provide their location to the dispatcher when texting."
The service works on the county's four major carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. A department spokesperson says "there is a “bounce back” message that is sent automatically for those carriers who’s text to 911 does not go through."
Hamilton County began offering 911 texting in 2014.