VIDEO: 911 emergency text messaging service added in Hayward

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HAYWARD (KRON) — The ability to text 911 for emergencies is now in effect in Hayward.

Emergency dispatchers at Hayward Police Department’s communications center are now adding 911 text messaging service for those in need of help.

“Yes, just this morning, we went live with our text messaging 911 service,” Lt. Antonio Puente said. “It allows a cellphone user to text us at 911.”

A cellphone user in Hayward simply has to text 911 and a dispatch will start the conversation.

A map will appear showing the proximity of the caller but not the address.

Hayward police’s launch of text messaging 911 this week comes on the heels of similar news from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

“Yeah, we are the first agency in Alameda County, and today, Hayward became the second,” Sgt. Ray Kelly said. “That’s a big deal.”

The two law enforcement agencies join a growing number of Bay Area police departments merging text messaging technology into their emergency service communications systems

“Richmond Police Department is one,” Kelly said. “Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, the Santa Clara Police Department is doing it as well. You add in Hayward, and the sheriff’s office today, so that brings us up.”

Two of the Bay Area’s high-profile police departments, Oakland and BART, are not on board with the new 911 text messaging service–yet.

“Other agencies will be watching what we are doing, and I know that by the end of Dec. 2018, we will have a state-wide rollout of text 911, and it will just become the new norm,” Sgt. Kelly said.

It is important to note that officials at both Hayward police and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office say if the emergency caller has the option, police would rather receive 911 phone calls instead of text messaging.

They say it is because the dispatcher can often hear background noise, which can help determine the nature of the emergency and the response.

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