News Flash

Sheriff's Office

Posted on: March 22, 2021

Text to 911 Now Available

Text to 911 Now Available


CALL if you can, TEXT if you can’t


Text to 911 is now live in South Dakota, and is an alternative means of placing a 911 call.

About Text-to-9-1-1

  • Text-to-9-1-1 is available throughout South Dakota as of March, 2021.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 provides direct service for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or those with a speech disability. Texting can also be used by individuals who lost the ability to speak following a medical crisis.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 should only be used when a person can’t safely make a voice call, such as an active shooter, domestic violence, home invasion, and human trafficking.

How to Text 9-1-1

  1. Enter the numbers 9-1-1 in the “To” field.
  2. Text your exact location and type of emergency.
  3. Send the message.
  4. Be prepared to answer questions promptly and follow instructions.

Texting Do’s and Don'ts

  • Use simple words; do not use abbreviations, pictures, text slang or jargon, emojis or group texts including 9-1-1.
  • Once you have initiated a Text-to-9-1-1 conversation, do not delete the conversation or turn your phone off until you have been instructed to do so.
  • Texting 9-1-1 with a false report is a crime, as is sending a “test” text. If you accidentally send a text to
  • 9-1-1, send another text or call 9-1-1 to let the dispatcher know that there is no emergency.
  • Do NOT text and drive!

Text-to-9-1-1 Facts

  • Emergency response may be lengthened due to the time it takes for a text to 9-1-1 to be typed and sent.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 messages are subject to the same service speeds and/or delays depending on network strength in your area.
  • Location is not as accurate with text as it is with a call. Be sure to text your exact address or location.
  • At this time, 9-1-1 call centers are not equipped to accept photos or videos attached to a text-message.
  • A text or data plan is required in order to use Text-to-9-1-1.
  • If you attempt to send a text to 9-1-1 where that service is not currently available or your phone is in "roaming" status, you should receive a "bounce-back" message informing you that the service is unavailable.
  • There is no language translation service for texts to 9-1-1.
  • Texts to 9-1-1 have a 160-character limit, can get out of order, or may not be received.

Please see the below for more infomration.

Full Press Release

Downloadable Fact Sheet

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