Dunwoody police provide a variety of online and smartphone services to stay in touch with residents.
“We’re in this tech-savvy world, so we have to try to keep up…,” community outreach Officer Tim Fecht said. “We just want to provide citizens as many options as possible to keep safe.”
And to keep in contact. “Our goal is to reach out to as many people as possible,” Fecht said. “The better informed they are, the easier our job is.”
You can register for the programs through the Dunwoody Alert Network on the department’s webpage, at dunwoodyga.gov/home/project-details/13-05-30/Dunwoody_Alert_Network.
Fecht outlined several of the programs in a recent talk to the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and in an interview. Here are some highlights of the department’s programs.
1. Code Red. Code Red, the department’s most recent offering, provides warnings of imminent storms and other emergency information through email, smartphones and text messages. The Weather Channel provides the storm warnings when there are reports of tornadoes, flash floods or severe thunderstorms, Fecht said.
Police also may use the system to contact people who live in a specific area of the city in an emergency. Say a child is reported missing, he said. Police could use Code Red to contact residents within a half mile of the child’s home to play a recorded message asking they watch for the child. “It’s very quick,” Fecht said.
The Code Red system now includes about 17,274 phone numbers, Fecht said. City officials uploaded about 14,000 Dunwoody land-line telephone numbers into the system when it started, Fecht said, and the rest have signed up online for the program.
2. Interactive Defense. When residents go on vacation, they can use this online system to ask police to keep an eye on their homes while they’re away. The system allows residents to tell police about the kinds of cars that should be parked at the house and when pet sitters come to walk the dogs. It also includes emergency contact information.
Police can use the system to find out which houses need checking and to contact the residents of a home, should police find something. Fecht said Dunwoody police try to check on houses on the list at least once a day.
The Interactive Defense webpage also allows residents to view lists of wanted or missing people; to keep an online “lockbox” containing an inventory of things, such as guns, televisions, furniture or tools, that might be stolen; and to receive email from police.
3. My PD. My PD is an application that allows smartphone and tablet users to check the police website, Facebook page and tweets. “Basically, it’s a one-stop shop for anything Dunwoody-related,” Fecht said.
4. Text a Crime Tip. If you have a tip for police, you can text it anonymously to “crimes” (274-637). Use the key work DPDTIPS at the start of the message. “We want and need the information,” Fecht said, “so we make it as easy as possible for someone.”