APD Using Technology To Improve Safety

The city of Austin understands the hold technology has on all of its’ residents. Living in a city that boasts numerous startups and technological innovations, it’s no surprise that the Austin Police Department would recognize the benefits of incorporating technology into their practices. Two major contributions to the APD will be the anonymous tip feature and Text-to-911.

Anonymous Tips Making Austin Safer

The APD recently released an app called Austin PD. The goal of this app is to allow users to easily submit anonymous tips to the police department. This includes features such as:

  • An interactive map
  • Tip submission section
  • The ability to send a GPS location or photo
  • Access to a two-way chat with officers
  • Local news
  • Helpful information such as locations of police stations and a directory

The app is available for free download on iOS and android smartphones. The APD collaborated with the startup MobilePD, a company that develops apps concerning law enforcement and public safety, to make sure the app works flawlessly and gives the user everything they could possibly need. Police Chief Art Acevedo stated that he hopes thousands of residents will download this app so that they will be kept up to date on issues of public safety, and have a quick and easy way to contact the police.

Text-To-911 Coming to Austin to Improve Safety

Safety from injury is a top priority for the McMinn Law Firm. Though the best safety measures are often prevention, a new provision coming to cell phone users may be a life-saving resource to those who have experienced an injury.

Texting 911 in Case of Injury Across the United States

Text-to-911 is a service that is available in specific cities across the globe. It has limited availability across the United States due to the new technology and need for cities and towns to modernize their systems in order to make text-to-911 available. Austin plans to introduce text-to-911 in June 2016 with the hopes of creating a way to contact 911 that is easier for certain parties.

Service Availability

Text-to-911 is available in smaller areas of Texas with Verizon service, but the Austin area is still doing testing to ensure the consistency and fluidity of the system. The Capitol Area Council of Governments is overseeing the project, and state that they are waiting for AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile to be equally ready for the new service. The service will be available in ten counties:

  • Bastrop
  • Blanco
  • Burnet
  • Caldwell
  • Fayette
  • Hays
  • Lee
  • Llano
  • Travis
  • Williamson

If you live or work in any of these counties, expect text-to-911 availability within the next 5 months.

If Injured, Here’s When to Use Text to 911

It is important to note that text-to-911 should only be used in specific situations. Here are the instances where text-to-911 is acceptable.

  • If you have a hearing disability
  • If you have a speech disability
  • If you are in a delicate situation where you cannot give away your location, such as a burglary or hostage situation.
  • If you are in a hostile situation where you cannot let the abuser know you are contacting the police.

This resource will be extremely helpful in abusive relationship situations because you could text 911 your address and problem, and even ask that they say a neighbor called and reported your home rather than be blamed by the person abusing you. These texts will be routed to the APD, unless you are on the University of Texas campus, where they will be routed to the UTPD.

It is important that people do not use text-to-911 for every accident or crash. Texting takes a longer time, and things such as Autocorrect and Siri could relay information improperly. Calling 911 is the best option in most situations because your message will be relayed accident free and someone can talk you through a situation.

So, how does it work? Text 911 with your location and emergency, and give as many details as possible. If you do this before June 2016, you will receive a response telling you to make a voice call. But, once text-to-911 is available, you will receive a response alerting you that someone is on the way, or inquiring for more information if more details are needed. This is especially important, because usually when making a voice call to 911, your location is recorded through the Enhanced 911 feature, which saves your phone number and tracks your precise location. With texting, Enhanced 911 is not possible, so the exact address is necessary in these situations. Your phone’s area code will not matter while in the “512” area, a text-to-911 will reach local municipalities.

Preventing Accident and Need for 911

If you are operating a vehicle and need to call 911, the same rules still apply. Don’t text and drive, or call someone while driving. There are dangerous consequences of distracted driving. Pull over and contact 911. If you experience an injury, contact an Austin personal injury lawyer; Jason McMinn and Justin McMinn to evaluate your case quickly and without cost. Call us at 512-474-0222, use the live chat on our website, fill out the form on this page, or email info@mcminnlaw.com.