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Web site links police to public

May 15, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- A new service provided by the Washington Township Police Department can send e-mails and text messages about missing persons, traffic tie-ups, police activity and road closings.

Free registration is required at www.nixle.com. Users are prompted to register with an e-mail address, and they can add a cell phone number for text messages.

"Its uses are virtually unlimited in the information we can provide," Police Chief Barry Keller said.

He said the service would have been helpful during the April 27 mountain fire near Rouzerville, Pa. Fire officials initially thought part of the Ashton Heights mobile home park would have to be evacuated, and Keller said residents could have been kept abreast of the situation through nixle.com.

"That would've made that job so much easier," he said.

Missing persons

The police chief also touted the service's possible assistance when people go missing, saying that pictures can be distributed electronically by neighborhood. The same applies to suspects wanted on warrants.

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Nixle.com notices are divided into four categories -- alerts affecting safety; advisories for police activity in a neighborhood; community messages about things like child safety seats; and traffic. Users can select some or all of the categories for their notices.

Four staff members have been trained on the system, Keller said.

The notices cannot be sent "from the field" until connection issues are resolved for the police cruisers' computers. However, the police chief said the on-shift supervisor can log in from home and send notices.

Nixle.com, which is privately funded, does not charge the township for its services.

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