Liberty: Emergency Alerts
By robert Guttersohn
Two weeks ago, township Trustee Jodi Stoyak noticed a small boil alert inside a local newspaper after a waterline broke in the township.
She said it made her wonder about the people who missed the obscure blurb or who didn’t read the paper and tried to think of a more efficient alert system.
Little did she know that one already existed in the township. And she learned from the police chief it was more than two years old.
Police Chief Richard Tisone signed up for a system called Nixle, a system that alerts residents via text message or email about different notifications, ranging from emergencies, police activities to school snow days.
One example Tisone showed to a Vindicator reporter was an alert for residents to be on the lookout for a car that had crashed into a mailbox and took off.
“Police are looking for a possible maroon vehicle with front end damage,” the text reads. “Vehicle destroyed mailboxes in the Lamplighter Drive area.”
And if the chief wanted to send an alert only to those close to or living on Lamplighter Drive, he can zoom in on the area and send an email or text to those living at the right addresses and enrolled in the system.
Nixle also can send out Amber Alerts for missing children or for weather advisories and community event cancellations.
But apparently few township residents know about the system.
As of Friday, only 159 of the approximately 11,000 township residents have enrolled in the service.
Despite its two-year existence, the coordination of Nixle still is being refined.
Eventually, Tisone wants to turn over control of the alert system to the township’s 911 dispatchers because it is open 24/7.
For water alerts, Stoyak coordinated with the different municipalities that provide water to the township to call township’s 911 dispatch when there is a water problem.
Enrolling is free, Tisone said. Residents interested can go to the Liberty Township website, click on the Nixle Information link in the center of the home page and follow the instructions.