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The City of Franklin Emergency Communication Center has begun to accept text (SMS-Short Message Service) messages for those in need of help, who may find it safer to text than to place a call. 

Text-to-911 is not meant to replace a voice 911 call in an emergency; but can provide a different method of contact in an emergency situation where it may be safer not to speak. 

Text-to-911 is also beneficial to those who may be speaking or hearing impaired, and who would be better served by the ability to Text-to-911 versus the traditional TDD/TTY services. 

Things to know before you Text-to-911:

  • Only text when you are unable to make a voice call to 911.  A voice call is the preferred method to contact 911.  Our dispatchers are cognizant of background noises and voice inflections and can provide the voice of reassurance until help arrives.
  • It is imperative to know your location including apartment numbers, suites, business names, landmarks, and entrances.
  • If it is not safe for you to be heard, please silence your phone. 
  • When texting, use plain language and avoid abbreviations which can be misinterpreted. 
  • Text-to-911 is not available in many of our surrounding communities.
  • If Text-to-911 is not available for a particular carrier, you will receive a bounce back message stating the service is not available and to place a voice call to 911.

Only Text-to-911 in an emergency.  Prank-texters can be identified and may be prosecuted according to local laws/regulations.

Franklin Police Dept.

9455 W. Loomis Road
Franklin, WI  53132

Phone:  414-425-2522
Fax:  414-425-0391
 Hours:  24 Hours/7 Days a Week
911 For Emergencies Only

Communications Center, Franklin Police Dept.

Text-to-911 Frequently Asked Questions

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When should I use Text-to-911?

Text-to-911 should only be used in situations where it is safer to text than speak or in situations where someone is unable to call and speak to a trained Communication Operator on the phone.  Calling 911 will continue to be the preferred method of requesting emergency assistance.

How does Text-to-911 work?

Text-to-911 works with the cooperation of your cellular service provider by sending text messages sent to 911 to the nearest 911 Communications Center which is determined by the wireless towers your phone is connecting to in order to send/receive SMS data.  When those messages are received within the Communication Center, a trained operator will read, reply, and send help accordingly.

How do I reach Text-to-911?

When texting on your mobile device, type the numbers 911 in the “To” or “Recipient” field, then send your message. 

What happens next?

The trained 911 Communication Operator will ask you many questions, they will assist in sending emergency responders to the location you have identified, and they may provide instructions on things for you to do.  Most importantly, try to remain calm until help arrives.

Can I send pictures or videos?

At this time, Text-to-911 service in this area only supports SMS (Short Message Service) to 911 Communication Centers.  The ability to send pictures or videos may be in the future, but not currently at this time.  Additionally, emoticons (emoji’s) cannot be used; your text may not go through.

What if my area doesn't support Text-to-911?

In the event you attempt a 911 text, and the service is either not yet available or the service is down a particular time, you will receive a bounce back message indicating that you need to place a voice call to 911 for help, Text-to-911 is not available.

How do I know if 911 received my text?

A 911 dispatcher should respond to your text. If the service is not available, you will receive a bounce back message indicating that you need to place a voice call to 911 for help, Text-to-911 is not available.

Will I be charged to Text-to-911?

Standard text messaging rates apply.

Can you Text-to-911 with an unregistered/unsubscribed phone?

Text-to-911 is not available to unregistered/unsubscribed phones.

What are some of the challenges with Text-to-911?
  • As with all text messages, Text-to-911 may take longer to receive and respond to than a voice call, it does not provide the exact location of the texter, and could be received out of order or not at all.
  • Text-to-911 rules do not apply to the following: third party texting applications (apps) on mobile devices that do not support texting to and from U.S. phone numbers, apps that only support texting with other app users, or texting through social media. This can include message services over WiFi networks, where a text or data plan is not required.
  • Text GPS location information is not equal to current wireless location technology.
  • Voice calls are real-time communication and Text-to-911 is not.
  • If you include anyone else on your Text-to-911 call (group text), it may not be received by 911.
  • At this time, translation services for Text-to-911 are not available, please text in English only. 
  • Messages exceeding 160 characters may be broken up and sent out of order.  Messages should be  short and to the point.
  • 911 text messages do not have priority over other text messages.  If a large number of people are trying to make cellular phone calls and send text messages at the same time, your carrier may experience delays in distributing these messages to their intended recipient.  Because of that possibility, if you are able, you should make a voice 911 call.