Texting 911? It’s coming soon to Clark County

Clark County to unveil new dispatch software later this year. (Photo by: WDTN/Jake Ryle)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — New dispatch software could soon allow Clark County residents to text 9-1-1.

According to Clark County Commissioner John Detrick — the county has been trying to move forward with the new dispatch software for years.

The software will allow anyone with a cell phone to be able to text 9-1-1. Officials tell 2 NEWS you’ll still be able to dial as well.

That plan has been put on fast-forward after a tragic 9-1-1 call on Tuesday.

“It was an 86 year old retired Army Colonel south of Enon in Mad River Township. He had fallen into the pond,” Detrick said.

He says the commissioners got together after the incident, and knew change needed to happen.

“It gets you re-evaluating the situation. Unfortunately it takes tragedies.”

Sheriff Gene Kelly says he’s hoping the update–coming in December–could save others.

Why is it important? Sometimes — dialing 9-1-1 isn’t possible.

Dispatchers say for example: in domestic disputes, or active shooter situations — it may be more effective to text.

The cost to you — a bit of your privacy.. as the update will triangulate your position.

“I know a lot of people are concerned that Big Brother knows where you are at all times and all places, but in an emergency, those minutes could mean your life when we try to locate you,” Sheriff Kelly said.

The cost to the county, according to Detrick, is nearly $3-million.

Commissioner Detrick says residents won’t be paying more for the service. The county has put enough money away in a separate fund.

“It will be 21st century technology. Not 19th century party line phones.”

For smart phones–there’s an app for that. A new phone app “Rapid SOS” will become available today; however, you’ll still have to dial in to 9-1-1 until the new software is implemented later this year.

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