Walton County Sheriff's Office Prepares to Launch 'Text 911' Program

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WALTON COUNTY-- Technology can make our daily lives easier, and it can also save us.

The Walton County Sheriff's Office will soon launch one of their new programs called 'Text 911' and only a handful of agencies in Florida use this program.

In the next few months, 'Text 911' will allow these Walton County Sheriff's Office dispatchers help residents in need.

For the past three months, Daniel Carroll, 911 Coordinator with the department has been working with the state to bring this program to Walton County.

"I currently have the four major service providers; T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. SouthernLinc is also joining us," said Carroll.

Sheriff's officials say for victims who are in a situation where they can't call 911, maybe because they need to stay quiet, and this is just another tool to help deputies find them.

So how does it work?

Officials say if you're in the Walton County area, Text 911 and it will send you to the Walton County Sheriff's Office dispatch center. Right away, the dispatcher will text you back and ask for your location. And if you don't know your location, there is still a way to get help.

"We would respond please call 911 immediately and then we would be able to ping their cellphone, hopefully find out their location, the direction they were going, things like that," said Paige Kypfer, a Communications Officer with the department.

Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson says this program should help a lot of people.

"It is just the kind of thing that I think law enforcement through out the should be doing to is finding ways to leverage technology and be more efficient and provide a higher level of service," said Sheriff Adkinson.

Sheriff Adkinson says even better, this program does not cost the taxpayer a dime.

"There was already a fee that was collected that cellphone company's passed years ago to help with things like this so I think it is a great opportunity to maximize service and get some return on investments," said Sheriff Adkinson.

Sheriff's officials say they have to coordinate with all of the phone companies and the state before they can launch the new service.

They expect to have everything up and running in 60 to 90 days.