Shelby County investigates countywide emergency communications system

Memphis, Tennessee (WMC) – It’s been nearly three weeks since a gunman terrorized the city of Memphis during an hours-long crime spree.

With only the media and social channels to spread the message, officials are now looking for more effective options.

As a result of this outrage, the Shelby County Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security are discussing establishing a county-wide emergency alert system to ensure all residents are aware of a serious and dangerous situation.

“In any emergency, situational communication is very important,” said Charles Newell, deputy commissioner of the Shelby County Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “Actually, it’s important.”

Charles Newell of the Shelby County Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security said officials that day also wondered, what is the best way to issue a serious threat to Shelby County residents?

“Because of that guy’s odd behavior that night, because he was mobile, because he was all over the city of Memphis and ended up going to Southhaven,” Newell said. “If they have, it’s good for citizens if you can be as mindful as you are about where this person might be.”

Newell said his department was in the early stages of discussing whether a mass communication system could be created and how it might work.

He also said his office has not narrowed down how they can send emergency messages to people.

But they are looking at other cities, like St. Petersburg. Louis, Charlotte and others to see if they have a system in place and how it works.

We did our own search and found these two St. Louis and Charlotte do have an emergency alert system.

stone. St. Louis has a citywide alert system called “NotifySTL.”

Charlotte uses the “CharMeck Alert” for anyone living in the county where the city is located.

Both have an easy registration process and can be accessed online.

They are all run by Everbridge, a “critical communications” company that works with public authorities to help in the event of a major incident.

Newell could not say when the alert system would be activated, but said if things move forward, people living in Shelby County can expect the new emergency alert system to roll out sooner.

“Citizen safety is paramount to us, and if citizens are not safe, that’s not a good thing for Memphis-Shelby County,” Newell said.

If there is any progress in the discussion, we will keep you informed.

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