Letter: Teens can make call for help, get amnesty

To the editor:

“If someone had called for help right away, maybe my son would have survived his first high school party.”

It’s a statement few parents think they’ll ever make, but one that far too many Hoosier parents have already made.

In an effort to create awareness — particularly during prom and graduation season — Indiana Youth Services Association’s Make Good Decisions program and state Sen. Jim Merritt, author of Indiana’s Lifeline Law, have partnered with Indiana’s Text-to-911 services and Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, chair of the Statewide 911 Board, to increase public awareness about the ability to call or Text-to-911 in an emergency.

Indiana’s Lifeline Law provides legal amnesty from prosecution for underage drinking, and many related drinking offenses, for a person who calls or texts (or for persons assisting) and reports a medical emergency, sexual assault or other crime.

The purpose of the partnership is to encourage young people to contact 911 for help when they find themselves or a friend in an emergency.

Those who contact 911 via Text-to-911 or by calling must demonstrate that they are acting in good faith by completing all of the following three steps:

  • Call and provide their full name and other relevant information requested by law enforcement officers and emergency medical responders.
  • Stay at the scene with the victim until law enforcement and emergency medical assistance arrives.
  • Cooperate with authorities on the scene.

Indiana is leading the nation with innovative technology to better serve Hoosiers and make it easier and safer for the public to contact 911 in an emergency.

Indiana is one of only four states that offer a statewide deployment of Text-to-911 services. If you’re a parent to teens, please encourage them to call or text 911, and stay and cooperate if they find themselves in an emergency.

Indiana Youth Services Association CEO David Westenberger

Indiana Sen. James Merritt

Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell