Notifying Public Of Danger Not Easy

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Even with so many ways to communicate, it can still be tough to tell the public when there are possible dangers in their neighborhood. Monday’s search for a shooting suspect in Butler and Cowley counties is a prime example.

We call 911 dispatch to report an emergency. It's not as easy or practical as you might think for them to call and alert us.

Lorion Wallace had two encounters with suspects Butler County authorities were searching for Monday in the shooting death of 25-year-old Trevor Wakefield. But Wallace lives near Wilmont in Cowley County.

Early Monday morning, Wallace says a woman, who turned out to be 29-year-old Mandy Crandall, came to his door looking for help. Even though Wallace knew nothing of the shooting in El Dorado, he called the sheriff’s office and they picked up Crandall.

Another suspect in the shooting, Montee Iverson, was around and stole Wallace’s pickup truck, which officers chased to a Cowley County field where he was finally caught.

"I mean, I called the law and got them down there,” Wallace said. “I wished the hell they'd let me know there was somebody else there."

Winfield Police Chief Danny Parker says their dispatch has a reverse notification system, but in this case, they weren’t notified quick enough to use it.

Sedgwick County authorities have investigated reverse notification systems, but some only work with landlines. Cell phone users would have to sign up. And we have to be there to get the message, which is the bottom line. Media, including KAKE, put the information out on the air, Facebook and Twitter.

But, again, the bottom line is we still have to get one of those messages to watch out.

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