Parks Dept. joins PD on Nixle

Parks Dept.  joins PD  on NixleBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

The Ridgecrest Police Department launched its participation with notification service Nixle in March. Subscribers can get text and email notifications from the RPD about fires, road closures, accidents or other emergencies. The Parks and Recreation Department recently announced that users will also begin receiving updates on gym times, family movie nights and other community events.

“It’s nice because it’s more than just an emergency alert system and it’s customizable,” said RPD Sgt. Justin Dampier. “We found that Facebook and Instagram are great for social media. But it’s so wide open and there’s not a whole lot of structure.

“For people with tight schedules who want to compartmentalize all the information they have to go through on a day-to-day basis, Nixle is great.”

Dampier said signing up is easy. Interested valley residents just need to text “RidgecrestPD” to 888777 to get police alerts and “RidgecrestPR” to learn about community events. They can go to nixle.com to customize how and when they receive different types of alerts.

“You can get alerts texted or emailed to you, and you can set up time frames so you’re not getting a National Weather Service update at 2 a.m.”

Nixle can also be used to provide officers with anonymous tips.

“You always think of tips as a primarily one-way communication,” said Dampier. “You can text anonymous tips to us. But if we have follow-up questions, Nixle opens up two way communication. You remain anonymous and we never know what phone number it’s coming from.”

As people are becoming much more aware of their online footprints and the security of their personal information online, Dampier said, the only thing he knows is how many users have subscribed to RPD’s notifications.

“There’s no way for me to get any data relating to subscribers. It’s an alert system, not a marketing system,” he said.

“This saves a whole lot of time and a whole lot of keystrokes. Before, we’d have to send out emails and make a bunch of phone calls,” he said.

“In an emergency situation, the dispatcher is probably flooded as it is. If there’s a disaster, as the administrator, I can notify people in seconds. It saves valuable time.”

Those who don’t want to sign up via cellphone can visit nixle.com.

Story First Published: 2018-05-11