Paris Police launches non-emergency texting program

By  | 

PARIS, TX -- As technology continues to evolve, the Paris Police Department is embracing it to better serve its citizens.

Starting Tuesday, July 1st, residents can send a text message to (903) 689-2706 and connect to Paris 911 dispatchers for non-emergencies.

"We understand the dynamics of technology and want to make any form of communication with our citizens available," said Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley. " A lot of people use text messaging instead of calling. If that is their chosen form of communication, we want to have a capability to communicate.

"I don't want to miss out on somebody if that's the way they communicate and they need to get us some information, but they won't pick up the phone and call," said Hundley.

Chief Hundley says Text2Protect is a way to expand their services and since it's operated through a free service provided by Google, there is no cost to the city or the department.

The program is intended for non-emergency situations only and is not meant to replace emergency 911 calls, but in some instances making a phone call is impossible.

"If Mr. Bad Guy sees you pick up a phone and start talking on it, you're kind of cluing people in to what you are doing," said Hundley. "If you're just sitting there texting, that's not going to raise that much of a notice that you may be texting for the police."

"We're moving into a more technological era anyway and I think if we don't adapt we're gonna fail," said dispatcher Kristofer Kampman.

Dispatchers still prefer voice calls, because they are more efficient and they can obtain the information quicker.

Text messages are not anonymous, so any prank texts or harassment of the system is considered a criminal offense.

The department urges anyone that sees a non-emergency while driving and wants to us the Text2Protect program to pull over.