New text service to alert citizens of emergencies, weather advisories
The Norman Police Department is now offering a service that will alert residents to emergencies, advisories and community events through text message or email. The service will be free to users, said the Norman Police captain.
The service, created by Nixle, LLC, provides public safety information, according to the press release. Nixle is partners with Nlets, the International Justice and Public Safety Network, which allows local police departments nationwide to send alerts and advisories free of charge.
“Nixle is an excellent resource that will allow our department to continue our proactive initiatives with the community,” Norman Police Chief Keith Humphrey said in the press release.
Each message the police department sends to the public will fall under one of three categories — alert, advisory or community, Norman Police Capt. Tom Easley said. Norman residents will receive text messages when a message is an alert.
Messages designated as advisories or community events will be sent via email and will include more detail, he said.
The service will not cost users other than what their service provider charges for standard text messaging rates, Easley said. The service expands the police department’s ability to communicate and allows for more interaction with the public, he said.
“The good thing about this [the service] as opposed to Twitter is it’s driven by us when circumstances dictate,” Easley said. “We only release information that is relevant at the time.”
Easley said the police department will continue to use traditional means of alerting the public to emergencies, such as filing Missing Person reports with the National Crime Information Center, but it can blast the information through Nixle at the same time.
“The more eyes and ears you have out there, the better off you are,” Easley said. “It improves your chances of success.”
Norman residents can register for the service by texting their ZIP code to 888777 or visiting the Nixle website.