Reverse 911 lets police call you

Published on Thu, Oct 11, 2001
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Reverse 911 lets police call you

If you get a call from the cops telling you to pull the blinds, chances are it’s not a crank call from the kid down the street.

Working with the Whatcom County Department of Emergency Management, Blaine police now have the ability to notify residents of emergencies through the use of “Reverse 911.” By identifying grids and street addresses, up to 100 telephone subscribers can be contacted at a time and played a short tape recorded message regarding natural or man-made emergencies, as well as given updates on emerging crime problems.

The system was first used on September 23 when the Border patrol was pursuing two camouflaged suspects near Harvey Road and one of the suspects tried to gain entry to a residence. Area residents were notified of the problem and were requested to keep their doors locked and report sightings to the police. Following the alert, the police department was flooded with telephone calls asking whether the alert was legitimate.

“It’s authentic and they should heed the advice in the message,” said police chief Bill Elfo.