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Text-to-911 service now active in West Bloomfield Township

The police say in case of emergency, calls to 911 is still preferred but now texting is also an option
Posted at 8:16 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 20:22:07-05

WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — The West Bloomfield Township Police Department is the latest Oakland County city to get the Text-to-911 service.

The new system is part of the police department's vision to make emergency services more accessible.

"Those who are not able to voice call 911, that will help them out a great deal," West Bloomfield Township dispatch manager Keisha Williams said.

Individual with hearing or speech impairments, domestic violence victims and home invasions are some of the many situations where texting for help can come in handy.

Williams says 911 texts are tackled with the same sense of urgency as emergency calls.

"Texting is a big part of how the world communicates today, so we therefore have to match that," Williams said.

Deputy Chief Curt Lawson says the new system, which is powered with artificial intelligence, also helps officers with language barriers.

"100 different languages, this technology will translate for our dispatchers so we can effectively communicate with those that are in need," Lawson said.

The service, which is free of cost, can even be accessed if you are outside of the West Bloomfield area.

"If that center does not have Text-to-911, it will go to Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, who's actually had Text-to-911 since 2015," Williams said.

And since then, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office has been expanding the network within their jurisdiction.

With West Bloomfield being the latest, there are now a total of 19 dispatch centers equipped with Text-to-911.

"This is just another example of our taxpayers supporting us and in return, we are pushing out the latest technology to help them," Lawson said.

In case of an emergency, the police department recommends calling. If you are in a situation where you can’t call, you are encouraged to use the text service.