Thursday, March 19, 2009
The Wichita Police Department has begun using cutting-edge technology to offer free, secure, two-way communication with the public, it was announced today by Lt. Troy Livingston, coordinator of the Wichita Police Citizen Alert Network.
The alert system allows the department to send and receive text messages and email alerts directly to and from the cell phones and computers of citizens. The alert is proactive, said Livingston, when time is of the essence in getting important or critical information out to the public.
“Many people in Wichita have signed up to receive weather or news alerts on their cell phones and computers,” said Livingston. “This free system is very similar to that, only the information contained in Citizen Alert bulletins deals with important information about public safety. The alerts can be sent out city-wide, or to specific neighborhoods, zip codes and business groups.”
Citizen Alerts can quickly inform the entire community of missing persons, suspects or vehicles used in crimes.
Business Alerts target specific types of businesses, providing them with information or crime trends pertinent to their type of business.
Watch Group Alerts target specific areas of town by sending alert messages about crimes that are happening in their neighborhood. There are many neighborhoods already registered on WPD’s Citizen Alert Network Watch Group page.
Case Alerts allow WPD to send alerts about open cases to all registered subscribers.
In keeping with the department’s core value of protecting the community, the alerts will allow Wichita Police officers to multiply their presence by using the eyes and ears of citizens throughout the community.
Another feature of Citizen Alert, said Livingston, will allow the department to imbed photographs, maps or Internet webpage links in the email alert messages that are sent out. He said this feature will be especially helpful when alerting the public about a missing person, stolen property or a suspect vehicle.
The Citizen Alert Network also allows subscribers to receive alert text messages on their cell phones, said Livingston. These brief messages gives the network an even greater advantage in quickly spreading the word about issues of public safety.
Because the Citizen Alert Network is two-way, Livingston said the system allows citizens to text-message or email free, secure and anonymous tips about a crime directly to Crime Stoppers. He said all such tips are stripped of identifying information, ensuring their anonymity.
In addition, Livingston said the email, phone number and other personal information about those signing up for Citizen Alert will remain secure and confidential. “Many citizens are protective of their personal information, and rightfully so. When citizens sign up for Citizen Alert, their information is encrypted and protected.
“Citizens play an important role in making Wichita a safe and secure community. The Citizen Alert Network is an important new tool that will allow residents of Wichita to become even more involved in fighting crime,” said Livingston.
To sign up for the Wichita Police Citizen Alert network, click on the link below.
Once there, another link will lead them to the sign-up page where they can choose to receive citywide alerts, alerts based on their zip code or neighborhood association, business alerts, or all four.