04/11/14 The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department 9-1-1 Center is pleased to announce a new step forward in public safety dispatching. INdigital Telecom recently installed a new “text from 9-1-1” platform. The program, called TexTTY, allows dispatchers to initiate a text conversation with 9-1-1 callers who call from a cell phone and are unable to speak or become disconnected. It also gives another option to communicate with hearing impaired callers.
If you do receive a text from Marshall County 9-1-1, please feel free to send a response either by texting or by calling back. If you have unintentionally dialed 9-1-1, please stay on the phone until the dispatcher answers and let the dispatcher know that everything is ok. Even if you hang up, it will continue to ring into 9-1-1.
Many of their open line/ hang-up 9-1-1 calls come from children playing with disconnected phones. If you have a phone that is no longer in service, it will still call 9-1-1. This is a safety feature put in place by the telephone companies. However, disconnected phones will not receive incoming calls, so 9-1-1 cannot call back if the call is disconnected. If you are giving the disconnected phone to a child, remove the battery so that they cannot unintentionally dial 9-1-1. It is never a good idea to let small children play with active 9-1-1 phones either. If the phone is in a purse or pocket, make sure the keypad is locked. Unlocked key pads have been the reason for many unintentional calls to 9-1-1.
Year to date the Marshall County 9-1-1 dispatchers have answered 5118 9-1-1 calls. Of the 5118 calls, 1268 were abandoned or hang-up calls to 9-1-1. That is more than 400 hang-up calls per month. Most of these are from cell phones with many coming from disconnected phones. Each disconnect call is treated as an emergency until dispatchers learn otherwise. If possible, every caller is called back. If there is no answer and it is a cell phone, the dispatcher will then send a text via TexTTY. If there is still no answer, an officer will be dispatched, if a location can be obtained. Each of these hang-up calls takes valuable resources and could potentially take time away from a true emergency. The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch Center would like to remind everyone to be responsible with your phone and help dispatchers focus on other calls for service.