APD Now Accepts Texts at 911

Cellular users within Alameda city limits now have the ability to text emergencies to Alameda Police Department’s (APD) Communication Center. Texting is an option when it is unsafe to use one’s voice to make a 911 call, if unable to speak due to an emergency or for the hearing or speech impaired.

How can I contact 911?
Always make a voice call, text if unable. When contacting 911 in the event of an emergency, initiating a voice call is always preferred. The tone of voice, background noise (yelling, threats, gunfire, etc.), instantaneous responses and other vital details in a voice call can assist in rendering appropriate aid, updating emergency personnel and be used as critical evidence in the future. If the situation does not allow for a voice call, then a text is appropriate.

How do I text APD?  
To initiate a text conversation with 911 dispatchers, compose a new text and type 911 into the recipient field. Then describe the emergency and location and press send.

Can I text APD for non-emergency concerns?
No. Please reserve 911 lines for emergencies only. Non-emergency texts received will be directed to call APD’s non-emergency line at 337-8340 before having an officer dispatched.

Do all cellphone carriers have the ability to text 911?
All members of the “big four” (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile) have Text-to-911 capabilities. Cricket customers share the AT&T network while MetroPCS customers share the T-Mobile network. All other customers should check with their carriers on Text-to-911’s availability.

What if I live here, but my phone is not registered here, or I don’t live in Alameda?
As long as the text originates from any covered cellphone within city limits, the message will be sent to APD. For alternative cities, please contact that agency directly. Text-to-911 will deploy statewide by Jan. 1, 2021.

Can I send pictures?
No, Public Safety Answering Points in California are not receiving pictures (multimedia) at this time.

Can I text in any language? 
No, translation services are unavailable at this time. Please text in English.

What are the limitations to texting 911?   
• Do not send short message codes, emojis or acronyms like: lol, btw, smh, etc.
• Location accuracy varies by carrier and cannot pinpoint exact locations. Please provide us with as much information as possible to determine precise location.
• Text messages can take longer to send or receive and may get out of order.
• Text-to-911 is not available while roaming.
• Text-to-911 services will not be available if the wireless carrier cannot determine a good location of the device sending the message.     
• Text messages cannot be received if sent in a group message.
• If Text-to-911 is not available or the message is undeliverable, the texting party will receive an automated reply advising them to make a voice call to 911.