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Police Adopt Social Media Tactics

Ever wish there was some way to know, instantly, where the traffic problems, crime alerts and general public safety concerns are around town? Well then, Westport Deputy Police Chief Dale E. Call has a program for you.

"It's like a public safety version of Twitter," said Call. The department will begin participation in a social media inspired community information service called Nixle, on Aug. 1. Where the town's CodeRED system notifies residents of emergency situations over the phones, Nixle will address other serious situations.

"The thing we like about Nixle is we can use this for more general things, like traffic advisories," said Call. Taxpayers should like that the service is absolutely free to the department. The only cost according to Call is on the receiver end, and only if they choose to get alerts as SMS text messages and don't have an appropriate texting plan on their phone.

Residents can register at Nixle and in the process set up their alert notifications. Options include SMS texts and email. There are different levels of alerts as well, ranging from communit and traffic to advisory. Also, unlike CodeRED the Westport service is not restricted to people in town.

Call said they hope to not overuse the system because the department wants to avoid "information overload." Outside of Nixle and CodeRED the town also uses crimereports.com to show the area where a crime crime occurred. Call noted the crimereports.com information tends to be very general. For more information visit Nix or call the Westport Police Department at 203-341-6000.

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