Nassau County Legislature Approves Text-to-911 Initiative

Michael Malaszczyk

In its Aug. 7 session, the Rules Committee of the Nassau County Legislature approved a text-to-911 proposal, which would allow residents to text emergency services as a secondary means of contact in addition to calling.

Suffolk County and a number of upstate counties already have a text-to-911 program in place.

The feature aids 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.

The move was proposed on July 31 by Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove).

Legislature 2
Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton.

“The implementation of text-to-911 capabilities is an important step toward modernizing our emergency response capabilities and providing life-saving resources anyone who needs to reach authorities discreetly, such as in an active shooter, hostage, or domestic violence crisis,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “Today’s action will also place us on a path toward compliance with a looming court mandate. I am hopeful that Nassau will ensure the service is equipped with robust language access capabilities so that every Nassau resident can reap the benefits of a worthwhile endeavor that can make all of us safer.”

Legislature Members Who Voted to Approve

The Rules Committee voted unanimously to approve.

Legislators on the Rules Committee include DeRiggi-Whitton, Kevan Abrahams, Siela Bynoe, Laura Schaefer, Howard Kopel, and Rich Nicolello. Nicolello serves as presiding officer.

One seat on the committee is vacant, and according to Daniel Schrafel, John Giuffrè substituted in for the Aug. 7 vote.

The vote specifically approved a $106,417 purchase order with the Intergraph Corporation for a custom interface text-to-911 interface.