Text-to-911 used for aid in dangerous traffic stop
VAIL — The Vail Public Safety Communications center received a 911 call at 11:45 p.m. on Dec. 26 from a female reporting her boyfriend as suicidal.
The man and woman were in a vehicle headed westbound on Interstate 70 near Gypsum. The caller was unable to stay on the phone due to the agitation of her boyfriend, who was driving, and disconnected the call. The suicidal person was threatening to shoot himself if he saw any law enforcement officers.
The caller sent a text to 911, which was received by Vail Public Safety Communications. The dispatcher and the caller maintained a text conversation while the man drove through Eagle County, through Garfield County and into Mesa County. Vail Public Safety Communications personnel updated law enforcement officers from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado State Patrol via radio. The situation was successfully resolved when an officer made a phone call to the suicidal person to distract him. The woman in the car was able to get the gun away from the driver, and Colorado State Patrol stopped the vehicle and safely took the party into custody.
When calling is not possible
The Vail Public Safety Communications Center implemented text-to-911 services in January 2015. Since then, the technology has aided in the successful rescue of a sick party in the backcountry as well as a handful of other calls. Text to 911 can be valuable in situations where it is unsafe to speak or for those who are unable to speak or hear. Additionally, a text may go through where a voice call cannot due to lack of cell service. Calling 911 is always the best option, but text to 911 is available in Eagle County for those situations where a call is not possible.
In case of emergency
Text-to-911 is not available in all areas of the country. If an attempt to text 911 is made in an area where the service is not available, then the caller will receive a message indicating that service is not available and to make a voice call.
The Vail Public Safety Communications Center is the primary emergency answering point for all of Eagle County. The center provides dispatch services for all emergency service providers in Eagle County, with the exception of Colorado State Patrol.