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Text to 911: Does your local call center have the capability?

Some Georgia police departments are sharing their excitement for new 911 tech.

ATLANTA — It's 2020 and technology has made our daily lives a lot easier. From social media connecting us, to apps that can do anything from order groceries to your door and bring a car to your location. Did you know that in some areas you can even text 911 in order to get help? 

On Sunday, a handful of police departments put out reminders on Facebook about their ability to come to your aid because of a text message. 

Roswell, Smyrna, Marietta, Kennesaw, and Cobb County Police all shared the "call if you can, text if you can't" graphic. 

They all reiterate that calling is still the most effective way for them to get all the information in order to properly help, but in situations where you can't call, you have another way.

Not all departments have this ability, so before you rely on it in your time of need, you should check with your local 911 dispatch center. 

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), they have encouraged this technology, but they say "it's up to each call center to decide the particular method in which to implement and deploy text-to-911 technology". 

Outdated 911 systems have been up for discussion locally and nationally after our 11Alive investigation that started five years ago with the death of Shanell Anderson. 

RELATED: 911 couldn't find her. She died.

She was 31 years old when she drowned in a pond while on the line with 911. Her SUV filled with water by the time dispatchers could figure out where she was. 

Shanell's death exposed bigger systematic failures where her 911 call was directed to a center in the county over, and the only address they could see was the address of the cell tower her call pinged off of. 

Alpharetta, whose call center Shanell reached five years ago, just announced in December they are the first in Georgia to have a Next Generation 911 center. 

RELATED: Georgia finally fixing 911 system, 5 years after woman died while waiting for help

We now have a government entity in Georgia overseeing our 911 system. The Georgia Emergency Communications Authority (GECA) was created by Governor Deal after the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill pushing for it. 

The GECA is disbursing more than $200 million to local 911 centers per year to improve systems. It seems some of the departments are making a text 911 ability, a priority. 

More of our 911 investigation:

Calls from Parkland school shooting went to 911 center that couldn't send police

He died on the line with 911. They couldn't find him.

She called 911 when a plane crashed. 'They put me on hold'

Georgia finally fixing 911 system, 5 years after woman died while waiting for help

911 couldn't find her. She died.

The Reveal is an investigative show exposing inequality, injustice, and ineptitude created by people in power throughout Georgia and across the country.  It airs Sunday nights at 6 on 11Alive.

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