Perry Co. Text 9-1-1 System's 1 Problem Needs Fix

PERRY COUNTY, Ark.-- Nearly 2 months after an Arkansas county introduced a texting option for 9-1-1 services, some people said it does not work. 

The idea was months in the making in Perry County but the coordinator said the problem with the 9-1-1 texting system is out of her control.

Stephanie Moreland lives in rural Perry County. 

We asked her if she knew about the county text 911 system. 

She answered, "No I did not."

Cole Wheeless worked about 20 minutes away in downtown Perryville. We asked him the same question. 

He said, "No I have not."

We told both people for the first time about their county's text 911 option. 

Cole said, "I think it could be useful if more people knew about it."

Nearly 2 months after Alice Wallis launched it she said people still do not know about it. Perry County's 911 coordinator said she is trying to promote it. 

Wallis said, "We're going to do it if it doesn't cost any money. We're going to do this. We're going to make it happen."

After countless hours of work, Wallis made it happen and the text 911 system launched back in June. 

Now she said the system's biggest problem she has discovered is out her control. Stephanie said she understands the problem too well. 

Stephanie said, "I would think that if you call 911 and you're in Perry County you should get the Perry County Sheriff. You should not get the Pulaski County."

But she said when she called in the past she got Pulaski County's 9-1-1 center, not Perry County's. Wallis explained cell phones ping to the nearest cell tower which could be in the county over. 

Wallis allowed us to test the 9-1-1 text system while outside the Perry County Courthouse. It worked. 

When we drove to Stephanie's house off Highway 113 near the county line we got an error. 

Wallis said she only knows of one solution. 

She said, "Well that an easy fix for surrounding counties to become active and texting. That's a simple fix. That's the only fix that I know of."

Stephanie said she hopes something changes. 

"Makes me upset and makes me angry because like I said if something happens you know," Stephanie told us. 

Wallis said if there is an emergency people should call if you can, text if you can not. Their text 911 system works with Verizon and AT&T carriers. 

Perry County's 911 coordinator told us she hopes people will start spreading the word in the county in case anyone needs to use the new system to stay safe. 

She said they have not received any emergency notifications from the text system since the county launched it. 


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