Athens County 911 Call Center To Accept Text Messages And Video From Cell Phones

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The Athens County 911 call center is upgrading its technology to accept text messages and videos from cell phones for emergencies. 

Scott Warner, director of 911 operations, said that he thinks this will be a great improvement for communication.

"We can send information on to the officers as it comes so they know what we know," Warner said.

The Athens County Commissioners approved the $78,000 project on Monday.

The current equipment is more than 10-years old, so Warner said the upgrade is more than needed.

He said the ability to text or shoot video in emergency situations could make all the difference.

Ohio University student Katherine Irby agrees with Warner, and said she will feel safer with the update.

"I definitely think that would be a good thing to use especially in cases where you might be in a threatening situation and you don't want them to hear you on the phone, like if you get kidnapped. It would be really good to text the police and say that something is going on instead of actually using your voice to call," Irby said.

The upgrade is part of the national Next Generation 9-11 initiative approved by the federal government in 2004. Warner said that even though the center has already purchased the technology, it could take up to a year to get the system to run smoothly.