Published November 20, 2012
Volume 20, Number 11

Pleasanton Police Department Debuts Nixle Notification Service

People who spend time in Pleasanton now have access to a new, no-cost community notification service called Nixle (rhymes with ”pixel”), offered by the Pleasanton Police Department.

Nixle, the product of a San Francisco-based company, is a communications service available to municipal, county, and state government agencies “to deliver secure messages across multiple web-based platforms.” It is designed to improve situational awareness by disseminating accurate local safety information so residents, workers, and visitors can respond to warnings, orders, and alerts on a timely basis.

According to Officer Archie Chu of the department's Crime Prevention Unit,“Nixle allows us to expand our community outreach efforts in the social media arena. We can communicate with the public via text message, e-mail, and Internet posts about public safety alerts, in-progress crimes, traffic advisories, and missing persons.”

Nixle notifications have three different priority levels, and subscribers can choose the level of messages they wish to receive. “Red indicates something immediate, like we're chasing a bad guy in the neighborhood, so you should stay out of the area. Yellow is not as critical, say a senior citizen with Alzheimer's who walked away from a care home. Green level messages are less time sensitive—don’t forget there's a special run that might entail street closures on Saturday, or general crime prevention tips,” Chu explains.

The notification system has been operating in Pleasanton for only about two months, but already it has been put to good use. In one instance, it announced a street closure due to a small gas leak. In another, it pushed out a description of a suspect in a bank robbery within nine minutes of the crime.

Perhaps the best example of Nixle's value can be found in the stream of messages that emanated recently from East Coast municipalities affected by Hurricane Sandy. Notifications ranged from evacuation orders and curfews, to closed roadways and warnings about the need to boil tap water, to a pet registry.

Signing up for the free service is easy. Users simply send a text message with the zip codes to which they would like to be connected to 888777. Pleasanton zip codes register them to receive text messages instantly from the city Police Department. For more control, users can create a Nixle account at www.nixle.com and specify the kind of information they want and how they want to receive it, for example, urgent messages via text and the rest by email.

Currently more than 4,800 government agencies nationwide have adopted Nixle for their means of real-time communications with residents, and more than 700,000 citizens have signed up to take advantage of the service.

For more information contact the Pleasanton Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit at (925) 931-5233 or (925) 931-5240.


Also in this issue ...