ARANSAS PASS, Texas — The Aransas Pass Police Department is using new technology to help its dispatch of emergency response teams.
The technology is called RapidSOS. Chief Eric Blanchard says that the Aransas Pass Police Department is the first agency in the Coastal Bend to use the system.
With 93 percent of the department's 911 calls coming from cell phones, this system is revolutionizing emergency response.
Dispatchers like Crystal Bath understand the importance of time when it comes to responding to emergency calls.
“If we can get help to people quicker than what we would be able to before, you know, it’s seconds and minutes and it’s not a long period of time so for this." Bath said. "This really does help getting people there. It really works“
RapidSOS will notify the dispatcher on a map even before the phone even rings.
RapidSOS works with connected device companies, like Apple and Google, to provide accurate location data to agencies around the country.
“We can see it appear on a map where it will show the position of that device and it will continue to track that device in our jurisdiction and to a proximity outside our jurisdiction, up to 10 minutes after that call is terminated." Blanchard said.
The technology began as a start-up by a man who was in distress and needed to be located.
The system offers its integration as a free software update to existing 911 dispatch systems.
“If you’re trapped in a vehicle, you’re trapped in a situation and all you can do is call 911 and hang up, no longer is that going to be an obstacle for law enforcement or public safety." Blanchard said.
Chief Blanchard hopes other agencies in the Coastal Bend will adopt the technology.
“Once we get all our agencies in the Coastal Bend connected with this free solution, we’ll be able to hand off that call and it’s going to save a lot of time." Blanchard said. "We’re not gonna have to share ‘okay the car is traveling down this location, last seen here, going southbound.' We can simply hand that call off and that next agency immediately has a location on where that 911 call is at.“
Even if your location services are off, once you call 911, your location information is automatically provided.
“We aren’t given any greater access than what our limited scope of need is." Blanchard said. "And you have to call 911 or we don’t see anything“
For the location technology to work, Apple phones need IOS 12+ and Androids, Version 4.0+.