City offers instant messages to local residents
On Jan. 1, the city of Waupaca began using a new communications service that allows it to send information directly to local residents.
Nixle is a community information service provider built to provide a secure communications service that connects municipal agencies and community organizations to residents in real time. It delivers information to geographically targeted consumers over their cell phones (via text messages), through emails and via Web access.
Nixle has secured a partnership with the International Justice and Public Safety Network, allowing local police departments nationwide to send immediate alerts and advisories.
Nixle is privately funded and is free to all governments, their agencies and organizations, nongovernmental organizations and consumers.
City residents, as well as those in neighboring communities, can begin to receive information via text message, e-mail and web by registering at www.nixle.com.
“Nixle has been used around the country to help find missing seniors, evacuate flooded areas and capture dangerous criminals shortly after a crime has happened,” said Mayor Brian Smith. “The power in the system is also its diversity of content, allowing not only those emergency alerts, but informing residents of road closures, city parades, government meetings and other ‘want to know’ information.”
Messages may include:missing persons, evacuation, weather warnings and advisories, even cancellations, street closures, police activity, health alerts and other safety and community event information.
“We are very excited to be able to offer this service to the residents in the city of Waupaca,” said Steve Fenske, the city’s emergency management coordinator. “Various agencies in Waupaca (police, fire, public works, etc.) can send information on multiple platforms (text message, email, web), filling a critical emergency notification need.”
Police Chief Tim Goke said, “For law enforcement, Nixle enables community policing outreach in new ways. Building a communications structure can help solve crimes, build safer communities and promote a positive dialogue/partnership between residents and law enforcement.”
Residents register by providing their address or an intersection near them, a cell phone number and an email address by which to receive notifications from official agencies.
Citizens then choose which messages they receive on which devices.
The service is free for the community to use, and messages can be sent specifically to registered residents.
Residents decide from which local agencies they want to receive information. Subscribers can also choose the way in which alerts are received, whether by e-mail, text message or over the web.
There is no spam or hidden cost. Standard text messaging rates will apply.
Nixle builds on the foundations of other public-to-public communication services, such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace but adds the component of security.
“Nixle is a first-of-its-kind took for communities that need to provide critical information to their residents,” said Founder and CEO Craig Mitnick. “In today’s world, you have to trust the source of your information. Residents of the city of Waupaca can rest easy knowing that the local messages they receive are authentic.”
For more information about Nixle, visit www.nixle.com.