When a person finds themselves in a potentially life-threatening emergency situation, a cell phone may be the person's best chance for survival. While cell phones allow victims to call local authorities for help, a person may find themselves in a situation where making a call is impossible.
For example, when a person is kidnapped or held hostage, attempting to call the police could be a very dangerous proposition. In such cases though, text messaging has proven useful to indicate that emergency assistance is needed without having to speak any words.
This issue surfaced in Waupun, Wisconsin, recently as reports state that a man named Jeffery Parkans physically and sexually assaulted his former girlfriend after convincing her that he needed to spend the night at her home.
Luckily, the woman was able to text her son with the simple message, "call the cops." The woman's son alerted law enforcement, and an officer was able to make the rescue.
While in this instance the woman's life was saved, had her son missed the message for any number of reasons, the consequences could have been devastating. This highlights the problem that many police offices are not equipped with texting capabilities, removing an important outlet for crucial assistance when a phone call cannot be made.
To address this issue, police departments would be well-advised to partner with a certified answering service capable of processing and relaying text messages. By taking this action, a citizen in distress could text the answering service a brief message indicating help is needed immediately. With a 24/7 call center staff that is always available, a representative can relay the message to the proper authorities right away, solving the issue of texting a family member or friend, which bears the risk that the message will go unnoticed.