St. Peters police investigating text-to-911 hoax

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ST. PETERS, MO –St. Peters Police are investigating a 911 hoax.  A post on the department’s Facebook page  indicates someone sent a text message to 911 but then did not respond when asked about the emergency.

“St. Peters spent about an hour trying to track down exactly who this person was and where they were and do they have a real emergency,” said Jeff Smith, St. Charles County Director of Emergency Communications.

The Facebook post indicates investigators were able to eventually track down the location of the phone and determined the text message was hoax.  Persons making a phony 911 call can face potential jail time.

St. Charles County implemented its new Text-To- 911 system in June.  The upgrade allows anyone in St. Charles County to not only call 911 in an emergency but they can also text 911 with a message.  Smith said text messaging 911 should be reserved for situations where someone is unable to speak or cannot speak safely.

“We did receive a Text-To-911 call in the last week actually, someone in a domestic violence situation where they needed to summon help and they didn’t want anyone else in the residence knowing that they were calling for help,” said Smith.

He said the text message worked.  First responders arrived and were able to diffuse the situation.  Smith said the next generation of 911 systems will also include the ability for people to send video, giving first responders a clearer picture of what they’re about to face.  Smith said it’s not yet known how long it will take for the next generation of 911 systems to arrive.

Jefferson County is the only other St. Louis area county with a Text-To-911 system on line.