By Lookout Staff
November 7, 2023 -- Callers who request police services in Santa Monica no longer have to call back to get an update on the incident they reported.
On Tuesday, the City's Police Department began providing automated text message updates to those who request emergency and non-emergency services, City officials announced.
The new customer service feature -- launched in conjunction with the City's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) -- uses SPIDR Tech, a Versaterm Public Safety company that provides quick updates using the police agency's data base.
“Santa Monica’s dispatchers answer over 250,000 calls annually,” said Chief Resilience Officer Lindsay Call, who oversees the City's OEM Public Safety Communications Division.
"This new technology will help improve communications and transparency between residents, businesses and visitors who report incidents, OEM public safety dispatchers and police personnel.”
The text notification updates -- delivered from phone number (424) 484-0511 -- "will only be sent to individuals who placed their request for Police Department services," officials said.
This includes calls made using a cell phone to both 911 or the Department's non-emergency number at (310) 458-8491.
The feature "will not send texts about in-progress calls and situations where a text message may pose safety concerns for the individuals involved," officials said.
It also cannot be used to send text communications to dispatchers and can be stopped by replying to the text with “STOP.”
The text message updates can be accessed in Spanish by using the link provided in the text, officials said.
Starting December 11, "a text-based, mobile-friendly survey asking for customer feedback will be sent 24-hours after a Santa Monica Police request for service has concluded."
“We want everyone who needs police assistance to know the status of their request,” said Police Chief Ramón Batista.
“It is vitally important that we can confirm with the reporting party that their call for service will be answered and when,” Batista said.