Nixle 360 is able to send more, different kinds of alerts
The Cloverdale Police Department has upgraded its Nixle. The department, which has been operating with a bare-bones version of the notification program, is beginning its transition to Nixle 360, which will allow it to release more and broader types of community alerts.
One of the more exciting components of Nixle 360 is the program’s ability to contact people through landlines in cases of emergency, Cloverdale Chief of Police Jason Ferguson said. Should the city have to issue an emergency alert, a prerecorded message from either Ferguson or a computer program will be sent to landlines. Community members don’t need to opt-in to receive landline messages.
This feature directly addresses some concerns raised by community members during a Dec. 9 debrief of the Kincade Fire and the related PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff regarding how some of the city’s older residents (who may not have access to a computer or cellphone) will be able to stay updated should an emergency occur.
The department plans to utilize Nixle for emergency alerts, as well as community alerts and advisories. The latter may consist of notifying the community of events and other pertinent information such as road closures or ongoing construction.
Ferguson said that he plans to utilize Nixle’s additional features by issuing community alerts, as well as by creating specific Cloverdale Nixle “groups” for folks in different subsections of the community, such as business owners. Once specific Nixle groups are created, those who subscribe to Cloverdale’s Nixle will have to opt-in to each respective group. There, subject-specific alerts and advisories can be issued.
For example, those who opt-in for a Cloverdale Business Watch group will receive any business-specific alerts that the department sends out. Ferguson said that this Watch meeting information.
Other Nixle groups may be created for things like Neighborhood Watch or for events like the Cloverdale Citrus Fair, he said.
Though plans are in place to utilize Nixle in this way, Ferguson said that once the time comes for community members to join groups like the ones listed above, an update will be sent out to base-level Nixle subscribers. For those interested in opting in to the business watch group, he said that people from the police department may stop in at businesses to let them know when the Nixle group has been created.
While anyone can sign up to receive Cloverdale’s Nixle alerts, Ferguson said that the notifications sent out by the police department will focus on alerts and updates for Cloverdale proper. Folks with Cloverdale ZIP codes who live in unincorporated parts of town can receive the alerts, but should focus on, and take the direction of, alerts issued by the county in cases of emergency.
As of press time, the department had 10,079 subscribers who have opted-in to receive Nixle alerts. Of those subscribers, 8,227 have chosen to receive notifications through SMS (or text message) and 2,736 have chosen to receive notifications via email.
According to Ferguson, upgrading the version of Nixle that the city can utilize is one of the first in numerous steps that the department is taking to be better prepared in the case of an emergency. In the coming months, the CPD will be installing high-low sirens in its vehicles, he said.
To sign up for Nixle, text your ZIP code to 888777 from your mobile phone; go to the city of Cloverdale website (cloverdale.net) and and sign up via the Nixle Widget; or visit local.nixle.com/register.