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SHERIFF'S CORNER

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You may have seen information on our instant notification system called Nixle in the past. This month, I would like to take a closer look at the system and encourage additional subscribers to sign up for this free informative service that the Cass County Sheriff’s Office provides in an effort to keep you up to date.

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For the past year, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office has been utilizing Nixle, a communication service that allows us to send important valuable community and safety information directly to residents using the latest technology. This notification system allows us to create and publish messages to be delivered to subscribed residents directly via cell phone text messages and email messages. Notifications can also be accessed online.

Messages may include weather related information, community safety information and alerts. It can provide people with an alert when severe weather is coming, when there might be a dangerous criminal in the area or when a Level 3 sex offender will move into a neighborhood. In 2012, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office sent nine specific messages including, flooding information/road closures, July windstorm updates, heavy smoke updates, shelter information for those without power and missing persons information. We also send a monthly test message to all subscribers on the first Wednesday of the month at approximately 1 p.m.

The messages can be sent specifically to residents registered within a fourth mile radius, giving them the opportunity to receive trustworthy accurate information relevant to their specific neighborhood or events involving the entire county. Subscribers can choose for free which methods they prefer to receive information on whether by email, text or web. There is no spam or junk mail associated with a Nixle account and it is absolutely free for the user to sign up and receive notifications. If you do not have standard text messaging as part of your cellular plan, text message rates may apply.

The Nixle system builds on the foundations of other public communications and networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, but adds a key component of security and confidentiality. When subscribers receive information from us through their Nixle account you know that it is secure and it can be trusted. The Nixle messages are also published on our facebook account. Search “Cass County Sheriff’s Office” on facebook and be updated on news releases, events and photos from within the sheriff’s office.

Registering for Nixle messages is very easy and only takes a couple of minutes.

To Register:

1) Go To www.nixle.com.

2) Click “Sign Up Now.”

3) Create an account by choosing a user name and password.

4) Enter an email address and cell phone number where you want to receive messages.

5) Enter your address or nearby intersection.

6) Click “Sign Me Up.”

If you need assistance in registering or have questions about the Nixle system, please contact Kerry Swenson, Cass County emergency management director at 218-547-7437 or kerry.swenson@co.cass.mn.us.

By utilizing the community notification system, we can outreach to citizens in many new ways. I feel that building a communication structure between law enforcement and citizens can quickly and efficiently help solve crimes, build safer communities and help to promote a positive dialogued between law enforcement and residents. Staying informed is very important in current times and by utilizing this free service we can help you do so!

If you have specific questions that you would like answered in this column or in person, please feel free to contact me anytime using one of the following methods: tom.burch@co.cass.mn.us; 218-547-1424 or 800-450-2677; or at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, 303 Minnesota Ave. W., PO Box No. 1119, Walker, MN, 56484.

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