PORT ARTHUR — Residents in Port Neches may soon receive “Twitter-like” messages from the police department.
Unlike Twitter, which is an Internet networking service, the messages from the Port Neches Police Department will be in a secure form, PNPD Chief Paul Lemoine said.
The soon-to be offered service is called Nixle, which is a free service that allows residents to receive information regarding alerts, advisory’s, community and traffic information in real time as the event occurs.
Lemoine said the service is endorsed by the Texas Police Chiefs Association.
“We are working to implement Nixle within the next two to four weeks,” Lemoine said. “So far, no one else in the area is using it.”
Anyone living in the city of Port Neches can register for the service when it becomes available.
Examples of uses include:
• If there is an industrial accident, a Nixle message will be sent via text message and/or e-mail.
• If there are significant burglaries in a specific area, a Nixle message can be sent to residents within a radius of the crimes.
• Community service messages
• Amber Alerts
• Hurricanes, natural disasters
The police chief said a different town using the service was able to locate a lost Alzheimer’s patient within an hour. The first alert was sent out to a one-mile radius and when the person wasn’t located, the radius was enlarged to a two-mile radius and the person was found in that area.
The service also offers a map of the area in question and photos.
Lemoine said the department will work with the school district and city as well. Should school be dismissed unexpectedly Nixle is available to advise parents.
During the startup phase of the service residents may receive messages once a day that will taper off to several times a week, then as needed.
“If someone hears sirens in the middle of the night, they’ll know what’s happening,” he said.
Getting messages out during and immediately after a hurricane is critical and Nixle will help.
“During past hurricanes press releases were sent out once or twice a day,” he said. “But when you’re out of town or your family is out of town relying on other news services for information it’s difficult. This will allow us to send this information out with photos too.”
Nixle messages will be sent by police department executive staff and supervisors who have administrative privileges, he added.
To learn more about Nixle, log on to www.nixle.com
Lemoine suggests looking at Scottsdale, AZ. for an example of how the process works.