LAKEWOOD, OH (WOIO) - If you have an emergency in Lakewood, you can now text 911 for emergency services.
The program rolled out in mid-November, in connection with the system already in place at CECOMS, the emergency dispatch system for Cuyahoga County.
“Once you indicate it’s in Lakewood, they will translate the call immediately to the Lakewood Police Department, and we will begin texting immediately with a Lakewood police dispatcher,” said Lakewood Police Captain Gary Stone.
“The screen’s in front of them already. They merely just go to their keyboard and they can communicate that way.”
CECOMS began allowing people to text 911 last summer. However, they still prefer you call, if it won’t endanger you to do so.
“I can see the text part of the program being used when there’s an emergency situation where you don’t wish to be heard talking on the phone, or if it’s something you want to keep as quiet as possible,” said Captain Stone.
“If there were a perpetrator near you,they would not hear you. However, the preferred way is to talk.”
He says that's because it's more efficient for dispatchers to say in close communication with you during an emergency.
“They can tell in real time, and the exchange of information between the observer and the dispatcher is much faster,” he said.
So far, Captain Stone says he’s not heard of any texts coming in for an emergency in Lakewood.
CECOMS handled over 400,000 911 calls in 2017.