Nixing Nixle?

At 2:47 a.m. Friday night Saturday morning, my cell phone jangled.

Normally, this indicates a genuine emergency — someone calling for bail money, say, or at least a drunk text.

It was indeed a text.  Jolted awake, I read:

WESTPORT PD:  AVOID ** Greens Farms Rd. between Clapboard Hill Rd and Morningside Dr S due to a motor vehicle accidnet.  Road will reopen at approx 8 am

Damn!  The 1st thing on Saturday’s to-do list — once I got up 4 hours later — had been to drive over to Clapboard Hill Road.  Just because, well, yeah.

I was not the only Westporter awakened by this less-than-urgent news.  Several people told me they’d received the same message.

The early morning message is on the bottom. The top one -- concerning a different incident -- came almost exacty 12 hours earlier, at 2:49 p.m.

I know, I know.  I signed up for Nixle — the Westport Police Department’s public safety system that sends phone, text and email alerts to anyone who asks.

I understand the importance of knowing a tornado is bearing down on us — even at 2:47 a.m.

It might also be good early-morning information to learn, say, there’s a pack of mountain lions bearing down on us from South Dakota.

But am I being selfish in thinking that a 2:47 a.m. accident on Clapboard Hill Road is not wake-up-the-town news?

If we can put a man on the moon*, why can’t Nixle be programmed to not contact us at certain hours that we request, about certain categories we choose?

For example, I could say, “Please send all weather updates at all times.  Please do not contact me about motor vehicle accidents between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.”

I’m not anti-Nixle.  I opted in to the service.

If I ever wander away from my house, I’d want people to search for me.

I’m just not sure how many strangers would want to be awakened at 2:47 a.m. to know I was gone.

*Obscure 1969 reference

6 responses to “Nixing Nixle?

  1. Umm, turn off your phone while sleeping? What if you had to catch a 6:30a train? Greens Farm Road is important for many folk to get to the station, and that delay could have been painful. What about those innocent texts from all your friends in Europe? They shouldn’t have to worry about the time changes. The point of a text is you can deal with it on your own time and schedule.

  2. I gotta go with Dan on this one.

    The telephone messages also need a tune up. They start with a long pause [clear throat] followed by an unnecessarily long slow introduction giving the time, the caller [Police], and the alert that the message is an ALERT. Unfortunately, the intro is so long that the important tail of the message is frequently cut off due to lack of recording space.
    “Westport Police; 12:36 AM; Emergency Alert; MESSAGE”

  3. Dan W’s right: There must be a more effective filter for the messages. If people begin to perceive these texts or phone calls as irrelevant — or even worse, a hassle — they’ll ignore important communiqués, or they’ll opt out altogether.

  4. The Dude Abides

    Well, at least I know who to call when I get arrested in the middle of the night.