Jonesboro unveils new 9-1-1 text service

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) "Tomorrow's Thanksgiving and we're giving something to the citizens of Jonesboro," said Jonesboro Mayor, Harold Perrin.

The City of Jonesboro is giving residents a new way to contact 9-1-1 in an emergency.

"This is a huge step in my opinion in public safety," said Perrin.

On Wednesday,  Jonesboro's 9-1-1 center unveiled a brand new 9-1-1 text service.  Jonesboro is the first city in the state to offer this type of resource.

"I think we're on the cutting edge of the technology.   We don't want to be left behind, and we're glad to be number one in this case," said E-911 Director, Jeff Presley.

Here's how it works--program this number, 870-882-0911,  into your phone's address book--you could name it 9-1-1 text.  If you're in an emergency where you need to use this service, you can text your emergency and correspond via text messages with dispatchers just like you would with a voice 9-1-1 call.

"Your regular 9-1-1 system is your primary route.   This is just a secondary route to reach emergency personnel," said Presley.

For example, Presley says if a burglar is in your home, and you're hiding and don't want them to hear you call for help.

"They could use that phone to send this text message with their address, we could have police on the way," said Presley.

Presley says their focus now is traveling throughout the county,  making sure people have the pilot number in their phone if they ever need to send a text to 9-1-1.

"We'll start setting up the school education programs," said Presley.

"The key to public safety is time. Time is of the essence when you have a need for public safety.   I don't know how much quicker you can go when you have a cell phone or something of that nature that you can just text in," said Mayor Perrin.

Mayor Perrin said several sponsors helped make this a reality including Best Buy, East Arkansas Broadcasters, Jonesboro Radio Group, and KAIT-TV.

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