Online program helps Grosse Pointe residents stay informed

To help keep residents of Grosse Pointe Woods up-to-date with what’s happening in their community, the city government has turned to Nixle, a subscription-based service that alerts residents to major events happening via text or E-mail.

“I think it’s an asset for immediately informing the public and for public assistance,” Lt. Keith Waszak said. “The public is our eyes and ears and the more information they have, the better.”

The system is free for residents, all they need to do is provide a mobile phone number or email, as well as their home address or the intersection closest to where they live to receive the most accurate alerts.

Besides text and email updates, Nixle has a website that provides more information.

Examples of alerts sent include: emergencies involving public safety that may require residents to stay in or leave their homes, crimes in progress or that have occurred, traffic updates, and severe weather warnings.

“We wanted to embed this program in the community so we could better inform residents,” said Gary Capps, Chief Information Officer. “Dispatchers run the program when they’re on duty, so it can be active 24 hours a day. When people get that alert and they know what’s going on, they’re less likely to call the service department.” public safety when an emergency occurs and overwhelming dispatchers with unnecessary calls.

Waszak said about 5,000 residents of Grosse Pointe Woods have subscribed to Nixle since the city started using the program in 2010, which is only about a third of the city’s population, according to the US. Census Bureau.

“I wish everyone could be enrolled in Nixle,” Waszak said. “But you have people like the older community here in Grosse Pointe Woods who may not have the text messaging and email capabilities they need to use it, that’s really the only downside that I see with the program.”

Capps said Nixle is run by the dispatchers who are on duty and when people receive alerts, they are less likely to call Public Safety in an emergency and overwhelm dispatchers with unnecessary calls. .

“I think we got it because it was very beneficial for everyone, but it’s like any other system,” Capps said. “People have to enter their address and phone number and create an ID, but in the end, it makes it easier to alert residents and helps create a safer community.”

For residents who also want to know what’s going on in neighboring communities, Nixle works for that as well.

“You can add Grosse Pointe Woods, you can add the city you live in or the areas around you, so if they send an alert you know what’s going on around you, all you have to do is to put in the zip codes you want to see,” Capps said.

Karen O. Fielding