Camden County Embracing Ability For People To Text 911 During Emergencies

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — The Camden County 911 center receives 1,000,000+ calls per year. On average that equals more than 2,500 a day.

Since March 2016, those needing emergency help in New Jersey have another way to reach out and get it.

“We were the first in the entire state to implement this new technology, this new software. So you as an individual can text 911 if you are in trouble,” explained Camden County Freeholder Susan Shin Angulo.

Angulo says the program first launched at this center in March and earlier this month went state wide.

“You hear somebody downstairs and is breaking into your house. You’re in the closet. Instead of calling you can text 911,” she said.

Already, more than 300 emergency texts have come into the Camden County communications center alone. 75 required assistance. That includes 15 for drug dealing calls, two for armed suspect calls, and one for breaking and entering.

Dispatcher Mike Santoro says the concept is simple. You text your emergency to 911, and if you can in the message say where you are located.

“The first question we always ask them is if they can call. If they can safely make a call. We’d rather have them do that,” he said.

If you are not able to say where are you are, or don’t know your location, dispatchers will be able to send a first responder to the area based on the cell phone’s GPS, and where the cell phone pinged on the closest tower.

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