Digital technology will bring changes to 911 system - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Digital technology will bring changes to 911 system

(WMC-TV) - New technology may drastically change the way 911 works.

Dispatchers accustomed to talking with callers on the phone will eventually be tasked with typing to them as a new generation texts more than it talks.

Texting is also quieter in situations where your safety depends on nobody knowing where you are.

"It's coming down the line," said Shelby County Emergency Communications District Director Ray Chiozza.  "The citizens want it, the public wants it.  The industry, the 911 industry, is moving in that direction."

Chiozza said the state is installing new digital 911 systems in call centers across the state, including one currently going in at the Memphis Police Department.

Actually texting in an emergency is still a few years from becoming a reality.

"Still, the manufacturers have to engineer the equipment to make this work for large dispatch centers," said Chiozza.

Some said they will still favor dialing a number to texting in an emergency.

After the digital systems are installed, the industry must still figure out how to properly route the texts.

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