Williams Police Department targets fraud with new alert system

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — In an attempt to get pertinent crime information out quickly, Williams Police Department (WPD) has partnered with Nixle, a web-based community notification system.

Nixle is a geographic-based public notification system available free of charge to residents of Williams. Business owners and residents are encouraged to sign up for the service to stay informed about localized emergency situations and relevant community advisories in Williams.

“We are encouraging business owners and any citizens to sign up for the program,” said WPD Lieutenant Darrell Hixson.

The service is built on a secure, high-speed distribution platform that delivers geographically relevant information. Information is immediately available by text message, email and over the web. An account can be customized to receive pertinent information.

All alerts will be targeted geographically, allowing businesses and residents to receive localized, relevant alerts from the WPD. Only the police department will have access to send out alerts, Hixon said. The police department says the service is secure, reliable and easy to use.

Hixson said the police department plans to use the system to notify business owners and residents about law enforcement situations.

“Last year we had a gentleman who was passing counterfeit bills around town,” Hixson said. “He was going from business to business and about five or six businesses got hit.”

Hixson said in that type of situation, the police department could send out a message to those who have signed up for Nixle and advise them of the situation.

“We could tell people there’s a white male with a red hat and blue pants passing around $100 bills and it goes to whoever has signed up,” he said.

Hixson said the Nixle system works separately from the Coconino County CodeRED program the city of Williams is joining.

CodeRED is a high speed notification system designed to notify people in of emergency situations within minutes. It is used by communities and agencies around the United States to inform communities of missing children, wildfires, tornadoes, severe weather, hurricanes, evacuations and other catastrophic situations via telephone, text, email, social media or a special smartphone app.

“CodeRED is a system run through the city and county for emergencies such as a widespread fire, flood or water main break,” Hixson said. “Nixle is similar but we can use it for more everyday type of use.”

Nixle and the CodeRED system require users to sign up online.

For Nixle, business owners and residents can text their zip code to 888777 from a mobile phone or go to www.nixle.com and sign up via the Nixle widget.

Once registered, a user will receive a confirmation text to their mobile device. When creating a profile, it is possible to customize the alert settings.

The city of Williams has not yet opened up registration for CodeRED but plans to release a statement to the community when the agreement with Coconino County is complete.

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