Officials prepare for E-911 texting

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

Osage County’s director of E-911 briefed county commissioners Monday that her operation will begin preparing in coming months for the implementation of a capacity for the public to send emergency text messages to 911.

“It’s going to be important to educate the public on how to do it,” E-911 Director Kay Kelley said. She said there will be some limitations on expression when the era of texting to 911 arrives; for instance, emojis — small images or icons frequently used to express emotion — will not be allowed, nor will Internet slang terms such as LOL [for laughing out loud].

Kelley said Osage County might be able to offer residents the capacity to send text messages to 911 by about this time next year. She said Osage County E-911 will be engaging in efforts to communicate to the public in detail about the arrival of the new emergency communication capacity.

In other county board business Monday, the commissioners approved a one-month extension of inmate medical service at the county jail by Acadia Family Medical Clinic of Pawhuska. The cost is $17,333.33. Sheriff Eddie Virden said he anticipates Turn Key Health taking over the provision of inmate care after this one-month extension with Acadia.

Virden’s approach to the inmate health care issue Monday marked a change of course. At the county commission meeting of July 23, he had been in favor of continuing with Acadia throughout the remainder of the 2018-19 fiscal year, citing lower costs as a primary reason. Monday of this week, Virden said he thinks Acadia is interested in going another route.