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Students can now send texts to 911 for emergencies

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The Sacramento Police Department released a feature that allows people to text 911.

As of Oct.17, users can send an emergency text when they feel unsafe or unable to call 911.

This came as a response to the phone system being down for more than 12 hours on Oct. 11, leaving no way for citizens to contact emergency services, according to The Sacramento Bee.

“It’s always a positive when you have additional ways to reach 911,” Los Rios Police Capt. Jay Loampano said. “This will allow teachers and students to report strange, unusual or dangerous situations more easily.”

At the moment, users must have a data plan and service in the area to reach dispatch and their phones cannot be set to roaming, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The article also said that users are encouraged to send all relevant information in the first text, as service is not always reliable. Users should explain the emergency clearly and include their address in the message.

Do not include videos, pictures or emojis in the text or users will receive a bounceback message if their text does not reach the technical specifications, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Yalixxa Perez, a 20-year-old psychology major, said she feels the feature could be beneficial for everyone.

“I’m more engaged in the text,” Perez said.

Jaylen Anderson, an 18-year-old sociology major, said there are pros and cons to being able to text 911.

“The pros are if you’re being robbed, the police can come anytime,” Anderson said. “The cons are, some might use it against an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend whenever.”

Mike Salewskis, a 20-year-old sociology major, said that “some might take advantage of a quick text.”

“It could be useful if you were in the middle of a huge crime,” Salewskis added.

Other students like Abanet Desta, a 21-year-old civil engineering major, said they are less optimistic about the feature and believe that the service isn’t necessary.

“It’s stupid,” Desta said. “I feel like you don’t express your emotions over text.”

Some other students expressed concern as to whether their texts would be reliably responded to.

“Calling is more reliable,” 18-year-old film major Jordan Fulwinder said. “If I text, they might never respond.”

Anderson expressed concern over the eventual response.

“Will reponse be as quick?” Anderson asked. “Will they ask a million questions?”  

For more information about the 911 text feature, visit https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/what-you-need-know-about-text-911.

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Students can now send texts to 911 for emergencies