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Santa Maria Police Department adds text messages to 911 response

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Posted at 4:12 PM, Feb 16, 2022

There’s a new tool at the Santa Maria Police Department that sends 911 callers a text message after they hang up with dispatch.

“The reporting party will receive a message about five minutes later just indicating that the call has been initiated,” said Sgt. Jesus Valle of the Santa Maria Police Department.

If there’s a delay to the call due to officers being sent to another call that’s a higher priority, the 911 caller will receive an updated text message that there will be a delay.

“We don't want somebody sitting at home for an extended period of time not knowing what's going on,” Sgt. Valle explained.

The text message system is for those reporting crimes like a car break-in or vandalism. It will not be used for 911 calls reporting shootings or car crashes.

“The whole goal of it was to just keep the community better informed,” Sgt. Valle added.

After the officer responds, the caller will receive a final message with the case number and contact information on how to get copies of reports or any further information.

Those we talked with say although they haven’t had to make a 911 call recently, it could give peace of mind to those who have reported a crime.

“I know they're busy and sometimes it might be longer depending on what your situation is,” said local Pamela Ewell.

The police department says so far, they have received positive feedback from 911 callers about this new tool especially when it comes to having the case number sent right to their cell phone.