St. James authorities teaming with Nixle
Published 7:08 am Monday, July 28, 2014
By Monique Roth
CONVENT — In an effort to better communicate information to the public in a timely manner, the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office launched use a few years ago of a communications service to send important, valuable community information directly to residents.
The award-winning Nixle Community Information Service allows the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office to create and publish messages to be delivered to subscribed residents instantly via cell phone text messages and/or email. Notifications can be accessed online at Nixle’s website at nixle.com.
Authorities said messages include anything from road conditions to Amber Alerts, as well as relevant safety and community information.
“It’s a great service for the public to get immediate information from us,” St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin Jr. said.
Nixle builds on the foundation of other public-to-public communication services, such as Twitter and Facebook, but adds the key component of security. This means when residents receive information from an agency via Nixle, they know it can be trusted.
St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office Emergency Manager and IT Specialist Dustin Montelius said the department is in the process of creating a media group within the service, which would allow authorities to send out press releases and other timely and critical alerts to various media outlets. Montelius said the push to include media outlets is in an effort to “utilize the service to the fullest.”
He said when the parish experiences an emergency like a flood or hurricane, there are almost always power outages associated with it.
Because of the outages, residents are often left without access to reliable Internet connections to check news. He said text messages are the most reliable ways to get information out to the nearly 1,500 residents signed up for the notification service.
To sign up for the free service, visit stjamessheriff.com and access the link on the bottom of the page, or visit nixle.com.