North Texas town adopts 911 text system

Call takers began training on a new 911 texting system in Richardson, Texas, last week.

Richardson is the latest town in northern Texas to implement the system, which allows residents to text 911 instead of call in the event of an emergency. Public safety officials hope to eventually receive photo or video of people or crimes, Emergency Management reports.

Richardson's system should be fully operational by the end of the summer.

Officials throughout the region acknowledged that the system has not become popular with the public yet, but will in the future.

"Texting will support a demand once the message about its availability gets out," Richardson Communications Manager Liz Cole said, according to Emergency Management.

Nearby Allen, Texas, which recently began using a 911 text system, has not received any texts yet.

"We had somebody try to order pizza, so obviously an error," Allen Communications Manager Shellie Taylor said, Emergency Management reports. "But we've had no actual text-to-911 calls."

The police department in Dallas, Texas, hopes to upgrade its system to receive texts soon, but is awaiting City Council approval.

Telephone companies agreed to establish 911 texting systems nationwide. Verizon and T-Mobile are currently the only telephone carriers that upgraded their systems to be compatible with 911, but AT&T is in the process of doing so, according to Emergency Management.