County exploring mass emergency alert system

If a suspected criminal is running through a certain neighborhood or if a big storm is headed toward Johnson County, local police want a way to let residents know they could be in danger.

As an example, Sheriff Doug Cox pointed to the manhunt in California for Christopher Dorner, who was believed to have killed multiple people after his dismissal from the Los Angeles Police Department. If police had a similar manhunt here, Cox would struggle to quickly warn people that a shooter might be on the run near their home, he said.

The county currently uses a text message alert system, but only about 500 people are signed up to receive messages, so Cox is not able to reach enough people at once.

Now, he is talking with vendors about setting up a system that would compile all available land line phone numbers and any numbers in the sheriff’s database to be available for emergency alert calls.


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