Published: Jun 16, 2014 2:53 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 16, 2014 5:37 PM EDT

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- The Collier County Sheriff's Office has implemented text-to-911 from cell phones.

CCSO is the first public safety agency in Florida to have text-to-911 capability, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Verizon customers in Collier County are the first to have the ability to text-message to 911. Customers of other carriers will have the ability when their carriers are able to support the service.

The Sheriff also shared details of the agency’s new Community Video Watch Partnership, a program that invites residents and business owners who have exterior video security cameras to register them with CCSO at In the event of a crime in their neighborhood, a deputy may contact them and ask them to review their video to determine whether it captured anything significant.

Text-to-911 is currently available in unincorporated Collier County and Marco Island.

The service is intended to be used in specific scenarios: when the caller is hearing impaired, when the caller is unable to call 911 due to a medical emergency that renders him or her unable to speak, or in the event of a crime such as a home invasion or abduction.

Following are some tips to keep in mind regarding texting to 911:

-Callers should text to 911 only when calling is not an option.

-Texting is not always instantaneous, which means it may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services in a text-to-911 situation.

-Providing location information and nature of the emergency in the first text message is imperative, since the Collier County Sheriff's Office Communications Center will not receive location information and will not be able to speak with the person sending the text. Text abbreviations or slang should never be used so that the intent of the message can be as clear as possible.

-Text-messages to 911 sent from near the edge of the county may not reach the Collier County Sheriff's Office. The caller may receive a bounce-back message indicating that a voice call must be made.

-Those who use the system must have a cell phone that is activated and capable of sending text messages in order to reach 911 via text. There is no charge to the customer for sending a text to 911.

-Photos, videos and other attachments cannot currently be sent to 911 via text, although those capabilities will be available in the future.

Click here to watch a video about text-messaging to 911.