By Senior Officer Larry Jacobs
Crime Prevention Division, SSPD

The city of Sandy Springs and the Sandy Springs Police Department, through an ongoing effort, make a top priority of communicating with the public and offers many services to do so.

The department offers an online information website nixle.com, SMART 911 and SWIFT 911.

For instance, the Police Department offers a free service that can help keep you and your family safe. The service is nixle.com, which allows you to sign up for pertinent e-mail and/or text message alerts that can keep you in the loop. Sign up at http://www.nixle.com.

Also the city offers a SMART 911 service which allows residents to enter personal information onto a secure site that will allow first responders to have instant access to what could be life-saving information.

The service provides the ability to enter information that they want available to emergency dispatchers. Many people don’t know this, but a mobile phone is not connected to a physical address. By connecting an address to a cell phone number, emergency dispatchers will have the ability to know the residence to respond to, even if the caller is not able to relay that information.

Extra information on the service could include a child or pet’s photo, pertinent medical conditions and disabilities that could be valuable for first responders to know when reacting to an emergency situation. SMART 911 does not require that people who enter personal data be city residents.

The service also offers a Short Message Service, which works through a cell phone, to enhance the service for the hearing impaired or others with disabilities.

“Smart911 and Smart911 SMS provide our 911 center with powerful new capabilities that enhance our ability to address emergencies,” said Noah Reiter, assistant city manager for Sandy Springs. “Through Smart911 SMS, we are able to identify individuals that are hearing impaired, for instance, and communicate with them via SMS on their mobile phone.”

ChatComm, a joint service of Sandy Springs and Johns Creek, is the first emergency response call service in the nation to offer Smart911.

The city also offers SWIFT 911, which will alert you to emergency notifications the city sends out.

Sandy Springs has four types of messages that are sent out to residents who sign up for the various services: Alert; is a time-sensitive emergency message, Advisory; is information that needs to be widely distributed to residents, Community; is information the department wants to share with the community, and Traffic; is information about road closures or emergency traffic situations.

For more information or to sign up, please go to: http://www.sandyspringsga.org And click on the “Smart 911” link on the left.