Legislator Proposes “Text-to-911” Initiative in Nassau County

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Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton wants Nassau to join Suffolk as a county with a “Text 911” program.

Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) has introduced a “text-to-911” initiative.

Currently, Nassau residents can only access police by calling 911.

Under DeRiggi-Whitton’s proposal, Nassau County would develop and implement around-the-clock text-to-911 capabilities.

This feature could be utilized by people who are deaf, have limited English proficiency, or need to reach authorities discreetly such as in an active shooter, hostage, or domestic violence crisis.

Anyone who misuses text to 911 would be subject to the same penalties as those who misuse 911 by phone.

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Implementation of the legislator’s plan

The program would be implemented by Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder as well as the Fire Marshal, if passed.

Disability rights advocates including the Nassau County Disability Advisory Council would be permitted to provide feedback.

Suffolk County already has a text-to-911 program — Ulster, Niagara, and Putnam Counties upstate also have one.

“It is essential for our emergency response capabilities to keep up with the latest technology so that our courageous first responders can protect public safety to the best of their abilities,” Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton said.

“Not only will implementing text to 911 accomplish that goal, it gives Nassau County residents a powerful and discrete, and accessible tool for alerting police officers to a crisis. I am sure that launching a text to 911 program will save lives, provide language access capabilities, and give us all a little extra peace of mind in a tumultuous world.”

Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton’s proposal could rapidly take effect

According to a news release by DeRiggi-Whitton, mere hours after she filed her proposal, the county administration filed for a six figure purchase with the Intergraph Corporation for a custom interface to launch Nassau’s text-to-911 interface.

This will automatically transfer text message 911-related information to the Nassau County Police Department’s current Computer-Aided Dispatch system.

The text-to-911 proposal could be discussed at the August 7 county legislature meeting as a result.

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Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton has filed a proposal that would make text-to-911 an option for Nassau residents.