Residents in Amsterdam can receive text and email messages generated by the Amsterdam Police Department under a new program announced last week.
Participation in the Nixle Community Information Service marks Amsterdam’s first modern emergency notification effort since flooding shut down the city in 2011.
Police Department spokesman Detective Lt. Kurt Conroy said the free service will provide not only emergency notices but also information like the Nov. 1 start of the city’s winter parking rules.
“It’s another way to notify the public of any type of emergency situation, or something they need to be aware of,” Conroy said.
Reverse-911 systems currently employed in Montgomery County call home telephone numbers with emergency notices like evacuations.
But for people who aren’t always at home, the service will send Amsterdam Police Department information to a cellphone or email address that people can get while at work or away.
“The benefit is not everyone gets the local newspaper, not everyone is on Facebook,” Conroy said.
“It’s completely voluntary on their part … if they want to know what’s going on the community. We want the public to be informed,” Conroy said.
Residents can also sign up on the Nixle website and review it periodically to check if any new information has been posted by the Police Department.
Nixle was founded in 2007, according to its website, to provide secure notification services for government and law enforcement.
Since the notifications began in 2009, more than 4,600 public safety and government agencies have signed on and it’s now reaching about 660,000 people, according to the Nixle website.
Nixle’s partnership with the International Justice and Public Safety network enables police departments throughout the U.S. to send out alerts and advisories in real-time.
According to the Police Department, messages can be sent to citizens
within a quarter-mile radius, providing notices that affect their specific neighborhood.
The Nixle offering adds to an alert system set up by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department through Hyper-Reach, which is already tied into residents’ home phone numbers.
People can sign up for the county Sheriff’s Department notifications online at https://secure.hyper-reach.com/comsignup.jsp?id=8261.
Residents can sign up for Amsterdam’s new Nixle service offering online at www.nixle.com.