The Riverton Police Department is getting an emergency notification system.
The Riverton City Council approved the contract during a meeting this week.
Currently, RPD chief Eric Hurtado said, his agency “does not have its own immediate way of sending out notifications of imminent and ongoing incidents occurring in our town.”
As a result, he said, it can take “a little while” to disperse necessary information to local residents.
With the new emergency notification system in place, he said, officers will now be able to “give pertinent local information” to people about “crises or instances occurring within the community.”
The system “reaches the right people at the right time with the right message” via text message, email, or audio message, Hurtado said, and it “allows us to concentrate into specific areas or neighborhoods.”
For example, he said, if a law enforcement incident occurs at a local home and officers want everyone in the area to lock their doors and stay inside, the notification system could send out a message to residents on “the specific block” – not everyone in town.
Police can also distribute photos of missing or suspect vehicles so “the whole community” can be on the lookout, he said, or they can use the emergency notification system to inform people about “major traffic accidents” affecting roadways.
The RPD received about $4,790 from the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program this year to pay for the notification system, which will cost about $5,040, according to a memo from staff.
“It is also possible to add notifications for public works-related matters for an additional $700,” the memo states.
Public works could use the system to notify individual neighborhoods about snowplow operations, for example, Hurtado said.
People would have to sign up for those kinds of notifications, Mayor Tim Hancock pointed out, while in cases of “imminent danger to property or persons,” the RPD will be able to push messages out to anyone in the local database.
For now, Hancock added, the city plans to use the notification system for emergencies only, but “the more we get comfortable with it and see how it works, we could decide to basically start a subscription for” more options.
“That gets pricier,” Hancock noted. “(But) the hope would be that we could get people to sign up … and have this really become more powerful.”
For more information, call the City of Riverton at 856-2227.