Officials say 911 texting service to report emergencies coming soon to Omaha, NE
Lincoln Journal Star
By ZACH PLUHACEK
November 08, 2014
LINCOLN, Nebraska — He always thought they were saying “lots of love.” It turns out, all those people who text messaged “LOL” to Mark Conroy were just laughing at him.
Conroy’s confusion about the acronym for “laugh out loud” is among a whole list of concerns he’ll need to address come December, when people in the Omaha and Kearney areas will be able to start texting 911 to report emergencies, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1p8uik8 ) reported.
Text-to-911 service should go live around Omaha on Dec. 15, says Conroy, director of Douglas County’s 911 center. In Buffalo County, Sheriff Neil Miller expects the Kearney area’s system to be ready soon after.
Lincoln will have to wait.
“We don’t want your text message,” said Tom Casady, the city’s public safety director. “We can’t handle it.”
Lincoln and more than a dozen counties in Southeast Nebraska are in the process of replacing their individual 911 systems with a single hub that would route callers to their local 911 centers. The switch will take time and could initially cost upward of $1 million to $2 million, although it is intended to save money in the long run.
And while the new equipment should make enabling text-to-911 easier for Lincoln and its neighbors, Casady says he’s in no rush to adopt technology that is “not quite ready for primetime yet.”