Lee Co. sends crime, closing alerts with new technology

The Lee County Sheriff's Office can now send out crime and closing alerts to citizens / Sarah Bleau

Criminals, crashes, closings â" The Lee County Sheriff's Office can now inform citizens of such incidents through the Nixle alert system.

"We're going to use it for advisories such as road closures due to accidents and alerts which consist of missing children, missing persons, hazardous situations," says Capt. Jeffery Kirt. Most recently Kirt says they sent an alert about a missing person.

Through Nixle law enforcement can send texts and emails to users notifying them of these situations in their area instantly.

"We can use it from here in the office, we can use it from out in the field if something comes up, like I said, with an accident and we've had lane closures or something we can do it right there from the accident scene," says Kirt.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office began using the system Jan. 5; the Albany Police Department has been using it for two and a half years and say nearly 1,000 people are signed up.

"I'm glad to see Lee County joining on because it is a tool that a number of agencies utilize right now," says APD Media Manager Phyllis Banks.

Some officers say they signed up for Nixle with their personal emails and cell phones as well as their work phones, so if they're off duty and at home, they know what's going on and can respond if needed.

Lee County has not had tips come in from the system yet, but APD says they recently received a lead after an alert they sent about a car connected to the Sand Trap homicide.

"Somebody got it on their Nixle alert and the vehicle was located and that was the only way they knew it was the vehicle because they had seen it on the Nixle alert," says Banks.

And there's one more perk to the Nixle system.

"When you get something like this that's free of cost your boss is truly pleased by that," says Banks.

The Albany Police Department says they're also beginning crime alerts through Albany's Code Red system.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office says they are plan to use technology that allows citizens to see on a map where a crime has occurred; Kirt says it also allows users to submit anonymous tips for a crime they read about.