UNION COUNTY, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has announced the implementation of countywide 911 emergency texting, as a shared service through the Union County Regional Dispatch Center.
The new initiative is part of a statewide, collaborative initiative spearheaded by the New Jersey Office of Emergency Telecommunications Services. As a shared service, the Union County Regional Dispatch Center will handle 911 texts for all 21 Union County municipalities.
“The new texting service is a significant addition to Union County’s public safety toolkit,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen. “It provides an additional option for people with disabilities to contact 911, and it enables persons in immediate danger to call for help quickly and silently.”
The new texting service is intended to provide the public with an alternative means of contact in unusually dangerous circumstances, or in case a relay service for the disabled is unavailable.
Texting to 911 may be especially useful in situations where a potential victim is afraid of being overheard, for example if they are trapped in their home or workplace by an intruder.
“In one recent case, a domestic abuse victim was able to get help by quietly texting 911 when a voice call could have exposed her to additional danger,” said Freeholder Angel Estrada, who is Chairman of the Public Safety/Homeland Security Committee. “This new service brings our Dispatch Center up to date on the latest improvements in emergency communications.”
“It’s always better to call if you can, but when you can’t call, text,” advised Union County Public Safety Director Andrew Moran.
The Union County Regional Dispatch Center is staffed by the Police Division of the Union County Department of Public Safety. In addition to County dispatch services and the new 911 text service, the Dispatch Center handles police, fire and EMS calls for other public safety agencies.