Tag Archives: Nixle

UPDATE AND CORRECTION: Alert: Nixle Replaces Code Red

NOTE: The earlier version of this story said to “dial” 888777 from your mobile phone. You should TEXT that number to sign up. My apologies!

For the past 4 years, the Westport Police Department has used Nixle to provide traffic advisories.

Now, the WPD and Westport Fire Department have partnered with Nixle to offer a Community Notification System. Residents can sign up to receive localized emergency situation and relevant community advisories.

This system replaces the CodeRED emergency notification system in use here since 2009.

All alerts are targeted geographically, allowing residents to receive localized, relevant alerts from the Fire and Police Departments.

Nixle sends out immediate emergency notification — for instance, for flash flooding downtown. (Photo/Jacques Voris)

Nixle sends info via text, email, voice, web, and social media in an instant.

Town officials say residents and business owners should not assume your number is registered.

To sign up, dial 888777 from your mobile phone. Then text the zip code: 06880.

You can customize your alert setting by logging on to www.nixle.com, and creating a User Profile.

Do it today. You don’t know when the next emergency will strike.

(Hopefully not tomorrow. The last 2 Tuesdays have been brutal. Perhaps the 3rd time will be charm.)

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

TMI

The Westport Police Department’s CodeRed system seems to work.  Westporters who sign up for the “reverse 911” program have received information about — and helped resolve — issues like missing or suicidal persons.

(I’m surprised, though, that the CodeRed calls provide intimate details like bipolarity and full names.)

CodeRed calls are also used for weather emergencies — most notably, the March nor’easter and last month’s non-tornado — and traffic problems.

Most Westporters appreciate the CodeRed calls, and have learned to recognize the “866” number that shows up on Caller ID.  We’re no longer alarmed at, or puzzled by, the 10-second lag between when we answer and when the call begins.

However, all is not perfect in CodeRed-ville.  Consider this comment from an “06880” reader:

Last Friday I was awakened at 6:30 a.m. by both my cell phone and landline loudly ringing at the same time.  It was the Westport PD CodeRed regarding cars that had been broken into in the Old Hill area.

While I appreciate the warning, it seemed unnecessary to call so early.  Anyway, I got an early start that day, and got a lot accomplished, as did many other Westporters I’m sure.

P. S.  I keep my car locked in my garage – seems like a good idea to me.

And — while we’re on the topic of cop communications — what’s up with Nixle?  That’s the add-on feature recently offered by the Police Department — a “social networking” tool that sends bulletins by email and text.

I signed up for all 3 options offered:  “advisories, traffic, community.”  I wasn’t sure what “community” meant, but I figured the cops would keep me up to date on what I needed to know.

Well, this is what it means:

The Westport Police Department today received a donation of two police bicycles from a local business.

New Country Toyota of 777 Post Road East, Westport, donated two new police bicycles.  The new bikes were presented to the department by General Manager James Tucker.  The new police bikes, along with two donated by New Country Toyota in 2008, will be used by police officers specially trained for bike patrol.

The value of bike-mounted police officers was demonstrated during the fireworks this year when bike officers responded, cleared traffic lanes and guided needed medical equipment for EMS units inside the beach within a couple of minutes, despite thousands of vehicles leaving at the same time.

“The police department is very grateful to New Country Toyota for this donation,” said Deputy Chief Dale E. Call, “especially in these difficult economic times, their continued support of the community is greatly appreciated .”

Um, that’s nice.

Officer David Wolf, New Country Toyota GM James Tucker and detective Sereniti Dobson show off the Police Department's new bikes.

Congratulations, I guess, and thanks to New Country Toyota (I assume the bikes were cheaper to donate than new Highlanders).

But you’ll understand, I’m sure, if I delete “Community” from my list of alerts.  I do want to know what’s going on in town.

I just don’t need to know that our cops now have 2 more bikes.