Saturday, October 31st, 2009
"Nixle" helps sheriff's dept. alert public
By Shelley Grieshop
The Auglaize County Sheriff's Office is now participating in a service that allows the agency to distribute important information to the public via the Internet, e-mail and cell phones.
"Nixle" delivers important public safety and community event notifications such as severe weather alerts, road closures, Amber Alerts and other critical incidents. Subscribers must choose which message levels they desire - alert, advisory, community and/or traffic - and the mode they wish to receive them.
The service is free to the sheriff's office and subscribers, however, standard text message rates apply for cell phone subscribers.
The Mercer County Sheriff's Office already offers the Nixle service.
Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon said his department has the option of sending out messages to all subscribed members or just those in the vicinity of the action occurring.
To sign up, go online at http://local.nixle.com/register or visit the sheriff's office Web site at http://www2.auglaizecounty.org/sheriff and click on the link for Nixle. Subscribers can input an unlimited number of locations such as home, work or friends' residences, after they register.
Levels of the messages sent also can be chosen to lessen the amount of texts sent or increase the connection to the sheriff's office. Users also can set unlimited locations, such as home, work and school, to stay informed about area incidents as well as widespread notifications.
Messages are secure and so is each individual's information. Nixle does not track users and does not allow advertising on their site. No third party will contact subscribers or spam subscribers after they submit registration information, Solomon said.
Businesses that employ drivers or citizens who commute frequently are encouraged to sign up, so if a person is reported missing, additional eyes are assisting law enforcement in making a quick and safe recovery.
Road closures will be published in a timely fashion so fast changing weather and law enforcement related road closures won't catch drivers off guard. Severe weather information will help ensure the safety of all citizens, Solomon added.
The sheriff's office warns it does not advocate nor recommend reading text messages while driving, and highly discourages this practice. If you choose to receive Nixle alerts via text message, please read them only when it is safe to do so, Solomon said.
"When you receive a message from the sheriff's office, it is important," Solomon said. "Nixle is just one more way the Auglaize County Sheriff's Office is working with the community to keep residents safe and informed."