At 11:45 p.m. on Dec. 26, the Vail Public Safety Communications received a 9-1-1 call from a female reporting her boyfriend as suicidal. They were in a vehicle headed westbound on Interstate 70 near Gypsum. The caller was unable to stay on the phone due to the agitation of the suicidal driver and disconnected the call. The suicidal person was threatening to shoot himself if he saw any law enforcement officers.
The caller sent a text to 9-1-1, which was received by Vail Public Safety Communications. The dispatcher and the caller maintained a text conversation while the suicidal driver drove through Eagle County, through Garfield County and into Mesa County. Vail Public Safety Communications personnel updated law enforcement officers from Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado State Patrol via radio. The situation was successfully resolved when an officer made a phone call to the suicidal person to distract him. The caller was able to get the gun away from him, and Colorado State Patrol stopped the vehicle and safely took the party into custody.
Vail Public Safety Communications Center implemented text-to-9-1-1 services in January 2015. Since then, the technology has aided in the successful rescue of a sick party in the backcountry as well as a handful of other calls. Text to 9-1-1 can be valuable in situations where it is unsafe to speak, or for those who are unable to speak or hear. Additionally, a text may go through where a voice call cannot due to lack of cell service. VPSCC reminds the public that calling 9-1-1 is always the best option, but text to 9-1-1 is available in Eagle County for those situations where a call is not possible.
Text to 9-1-1 is not available in all areas of the country. If an attempt to text 9-1-1 is made in an area where the service is not available, the caller will receive a message indicating that service is not available and to make a voice call.
The Vail Public Safety Communications Center is the primary emergency answering point for all of Eagle County. The Center provides dispatching services for all emergency service providers in Eagle County, with the exception of Colorado State Patrol.
For more information, contact Marc Wentworth, interim director, at 970-479-2231.