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Marshalltown emergency alert system now online

November 10, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

A new emergency notification system will allow Marshalltown citizens to get alerts on their cell phones.

The Marshalltown

Police Department went online with the system, called Nixle, earlier this week. Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper said the city is always looking to communicate better with the people it serves.

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Nixle sends notifications to subscribers' cells phones via email or text message.

"This is just a nice opportunity to have another forum to push information out to the public," Tupper said.

The MPD would use the system for critical emergencies such as missing children, emergency management situations and massive wrecks that impede traffic flow or pose a threat to public safety, he said.

If the database grows large enough, Tupper said he would also like to use the system for snow emergencies, which will also help alleviate call traffic to the communication center, saving the MPD man hours.

However, he said police would use Nixle judiciously.

"If we use it as a pseudo Twitter account, people will ignore the messages," he said. "We are going to use it for emergencies it's a great system."

Although the MPD will use Nixle for emergencies, it will not use it for tornados, which Tupper said come on so suddenly and the notifications for which are so prevalent to make Nixle's use obsolete for such situations.

Tupper said one of the main reasons the city opted for Nixle is because it doesn't cost users or the city any money.

To sign up visit the police department's page on city's website.

Anyone having trouble signing up should contact the MPD at 641-754-5771.

"Like all technology, there might be some kinks," Tupper said. "But if we are aware of them, we can get them fixed as soon as possible."



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