Dispatcher possibly saves a life by texting alleged victim

A Bartholomew County Emergency Dispatcher is being credited for potentially saving the life of a woman who was allegedly being held at gunpoint.

Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center Director Ed Reuter says that the first words that Emergency Dispatcher Dylan Prather heard when he picked up the 4:06 a.m. Monday call was “Put the gun away.” Reuter says that Prather attempted to first speak with the caller, however he got no response. Reuter says that, despite the lack of communication, Prather was able to determine the caller’s address from the GPS device in the woman’s cell phone. He then dispatched Sheriff’s Deputies to the scene. Authorities say that Prather was then able to establish contact with the woman by texting. They say that allowed Prather to communicate with the caller until deputies arrived. Reuter added that this communication also kept Sheriff’s Deputies informed about what they were about to encounter, potentially saving several lives.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Judy Jackson says that Sgt. Kris Weisner, Deputies Joshua Bush, Nate Nichols and Teancum Clark responded to the scene in Elizabethtown. After a preliminary investigation, she says that officers arrested 32-year-old Joshua M. Hehman, of Elizabethtown, on preliminary charges of Domestic Battery While in the Presence of a Minor, Pointing a Loaded Firearm, Intimidation with a Deadly Weapon and Interfering with the Reporting of a Crime. Hehman was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on a total bond of $40,000 and placed on a 48-hour hold, according to jail officials.

The Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center has had the Texting System since May of 2014, said Reuter. He went on to say that the system has proven to be an invaluable tool for residents and public safety officials.

“I am very proud of the men and women working at our Operations Center who continue to show why Indiana is one of the top users of the Text-to-911 systems in the country,” said Reuter. He went on to say that Bartholomew County was a pioneer in implementing the Text-to-911 system. Reuter says that incidents like this serve as proof that the system is paying dividends. “A life may have very well been saved,” he added. Reuter went on to say that emergency responders need to continue to adapt to changing technology. He noted that while texting is a fairly new method for interaction between the public and 911, future developments could see the implementation of video, as well as other ways to communicate.

Sheriff Matt Myers also praised the Text-to-911 system. “Bartholomew County’s 911 texting availability makes it possible for those in emergency situations to receive help when they are unable to communicate verbally”, said the Sheriff. Myers added, “It will save lives and may have done so in this particular case.”