Middleton dispatcher helps teen 700 miles away via text
Dispatcher texts with teen, contacts Tenn. authorities to help unresponsive mother
MIDDLETON, Wis. — A Middleton police dispatcher helped a teenager almost 700 miles away via text message get emergency help last week, according to a release from the Middleton Police Department.
Last week a Middleton Police Department dispatcher received a text message from a teenager who was afraid that his mom was having a medical emergency, officials said.
The type of contact is fairly common to dispatchers, but after exchanging several text messages the dispatcher discovered that the teenager and his mother were about 700 miles away in Manchester, Tenn., according to the release.
Police do not know why or how the teen found the number to reach police in Middleton, but he said he didn’t have minutes left on his phone and was only able to communicate using Wi-Fi from a local restaurant using a texting app.
While the dispatcher continue to text with the teen to get his exact location and details about his mom, the dispatcher contacted authorities in Tennessee, officials said. The dispatcher continued to text with the teen until emergency responded arrived to help his mom, who was found unresponsive after taking medication and alcohol.
The Middleton Police Department added the ability to text to its landline telephone number just over six months ago with text carrier Zipwhip, according to the release. Since launching the text-messaging system in October, Middleton dispatchers have received and sent over 900 text messages, mostly involving things like parking complaints, noise disturbances, animal complaints and answering general questions.