People in Visalia can now text 911 if they feel unsafe to speak out loud


Calling 911 when you are in an emergency has been the go to during an emergency for decades. Now, Visalia Police are excited local residents can text in their emergencies rather than calling them in. 

All you have to do is be in the city of Visalia, text the numbers 911, and in the body of your text explain the emergency.

Darlene Friend is the Communication Supervisor for Visalia Police Department. She says texting is not a replacement for calling but rather a tool for those who feel in danger if they talk.

“A child who is witnessing their parents in a domestic dispute,” says Friend. “Most children have phones. So, they will be able to text without it being obvious to whoever the causing party is.”

Friend says this technology is new. So, the key to using this tool is being as precise as possible. 

“This is why it is going to be important that there isn’t abbreviations used and that you are using clear texts,” says Friend. “Being as descriptive as possible because we are going to lose all of that stuff that we get when we hear someone on the phone.”

Sergeant Gary Williams with Visalia Police says this tool will help them assist those who may not have a way of calling 911.

“Hearing or speech impaired, obviously this is designed perfectly for you,” says Williams. “So, you can contact the police department for 911.”

Dayna Towery lives in Visalia. She thinks this new tool will be very helpful.

“I feel a lot safer now because if I am in like a predicament where I can’t talk on the phone and get help I can now text somebody,” says Towery. 

But, Mariah Cantu, who also lives in Visalia, says she will opt to calling them rather than texting in an emergency. 

“Not that safe because I think calling 911 would be a lot faster and safer,” says Cantu. 

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