Portage County Sheriff’s Department has begun accepting text–to–911 service. Wireless customers can now send a text (up to 140 characters) to 911 in an emergency.

Text to 911 should only be used in an emergent situation, when placing a call is not possible. For instance, if the caller is not able to speak out loud if it would put the caller in danger, or if the caller is deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech impaired.

If there is an emergency and you are unable to make a call, remember these steps:

  • Don’t text and drive.
  • In the first text message, send the location and type of emergency.
  • Text in simple words. Send a short text message in English without abbreviations or slang.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker.
  • Don’t abuse 911. Text-to-911 service is ONLY for emergencies.
  • It is a crime to text or call 911 with a false report. Prank-texters can be located.

The Text-to-911 service could have many challenges:

  • Text or data plan is required to place a text to 911.
  • As with all text messages, messages to 911 may take longer to receive, may get
    out of order, or may not be received at all.
  • If you do not receive a text response from 911, try to contact 911 another way.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 911 at this time.
  • Text-to-911 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 911.

Text-to-911 service is not available everywhere in Wisconsin and the U.S. Voice calls to 911 are still the best and fastest way to contact 911.