By Matt Kroschel
VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – A text sent to a Colorado dispatch center possibly saved the life of a suicidal man.
The Vail Public Safety Communications reports they received a 911 call from a female reporting her boyfriend as suicidal on Dec. 26. According to dispatchers, they 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 the suicidal driver 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 suicidal driver drove through Eagle County, through Garfield County and into Mesa County.
Vail Public Safety Communications personnel updated law enforcement officers from 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 caller was able to get the gun away from him, and Colorado State Patrol stopped the vehicle and safely took the party into custody.
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,” Vail communication managers told CBS4.
VPSCC reminds the public that 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.
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, the caller will receive a message indicating that service is not available and to make a voice call.
For more information and the complete list of where the service is available in Colorado, visithttps://sites.google.com/site/co911rc/resources/text-to-911. Also visit that site if you would like to request Text-to-911 in your area by notifying the Federal Communications Commission.