Central Texas woman receives award for creating 'Text-to-911' system

Posted at 6:26 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 19:51:17-04

Call or text, the choice is yours. The woman who made Text-to-911 possible in Brazos Valley is now being honored.

A safety organization called NICE has named Anita Pitt, 911 program manager, the 2017 Innovator of the Year. Pitt is also a member of the Brazos Valley Council of Governments. 

Nearly a year ago, Text-to-911 launched in six counties throughout Brazos Valley. The counties include Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson and Washington.

Pitt created it because she wanted more for the people she serves. 

"I think the citizens demand it and deserve it," said Pitt.

Pitt said it's been wildly successful, used mainly by the hearing impaired and folks who live in more rural areas where voice service on their cell phones isn't always reliable. It's also being used by teenagers who feel more comfortable texting.

Sheriff Gerald Yezak with Robertson County Sheriff's Office said this system comes in handy when people are in stuck in situations where they have to be quiet.

"A few years ago we had a burglary in progress where a young teenage girl was home alone when the burglars broke into the house and she snuck in and hid in the bathroom. But we didn't have texting back then, she had to call," said Sheriff Yezak.

Using Text-to-911 is as easy as reaching out to one of your friends. You simply type out the reason you need help and send it to 911, then a line of communication will open with a dispatcher. 

"What comes next then is the video or the pictures. We're working to be able to do that in the next couple of years so it's coming," said Pitt.

“On behalf of NICE, I’d like to congratulate Anita Pitt and the other PSAPs’ Finest 2017 award winners. We are grateful for their tireless dedication to improving public safety. Anita’s passion and tenacity in empowering the 911 center professionals she serves to better support the community is truly impressive,” said Patrick Botz, Director of Engagement, NICE.

Next month, the BVCOG will also be recognized for 30 years of service. The team will gather in Austin to receive a plaque, thanking them for their dedication to the community. 

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