Berks, surrounding counties evaluating text 911 service

Berks, surrounding counties evaluating text 911 service

READING, Pa. - Berks County is hoping to roll out a new feature that would allow you to text 911, but there are some roadblocks to getting the service up and running.

"We realize that this is actually a very important feature to have for our residents in order to be able to contact 911 via text," said Carl Geffken, the county's chief operating officer.

Texting your emergency could be beneficial for the hearing-impaired or virtually anyone caught in a situation where they do not feel comfortable calling, such as a home invasion, Geffken said.

Launching the feature, however, is not as easy on the county's end.

Berks could share services with Montgomery County, which already has the resources and software in place. But first, Berks County needs to install its own fiber optic connection between the Berks and Montgomery call centers.

At this time, county officials do not know how much that would cost or if it is even possible, but they are hopeful the texting feature could work one day.

"Hopefully, all of our residents will never need to utilize it, but knowing that it is there in case of an emergency, that is why we are looking forward to progressing forward," said Geffken.

County officials said they hope to release more information in the coming months.

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