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February 27. 2013 9:55PM

Candia police to send out crime alerts

CANDIA - The Police Department has launched a trial of the Nixle service, allowing subscribing residents to receive real-time notifications of local crime and public safety issues.

Nixle is a free, privately owned notification service that allows "verified" agencies to instantly send messages to residents via text, email or through a feed on Nixle's website.

"This is a free service," said Police Chief Mike McGillen, announcing the program to the public at the selectmen's Feb. 25 meeting. "If there's a road closure, like a fatal crash ... or a bad situation in town, or a crime spree, or the power's out due to an ice storm, we can put these notifications out."

The department intends to be cautious and sparing in its use of Nixle alerts, so they don't become routine and result in serious alerts being ignored.

"We're not going to use it all the time because it becomes mundane," he said. "We're only going to use it for what we feel are important issues."

"We're hoping that a lot of residents become aware of it and take us up on the offer," McGillen said.

Residents do not receive the notifications automatically, but rather must form an account with Nixle and "subscribe" to the notifications, at which point they select how they want to receive them.

McGillen became aware of the program after the department's secretary saw its use by a neighboring department an suggested that the department adopt it. He brought the matter up at several selectmen meeting, discussing its benefits in fostering public awareness. The town's webmaster, Catherine Sangillo, later became involved with the project and assisted in its implementation.

"She's been a great resource for us," said McGillen. "She's kind of been the lead person on it."

Candia residents may register on the official nixle website, nixle.com, or through a form on the town's website, candianh.org.

bclogston@newstote.com



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