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Emergency calls notify the public

    PENN YAN—Residents of a section of the town of Milo received an unusual phone call on Friday, Aug. 26.
    When the phone was answered, Yates County 911 Chief Dispatcher Sandy Smith said that there was a man with a gun in their area. The situation that triggered the telephone calls on Aug. 26 was an Iraq war veteran carrying a gun. He had threatened to shoot himself or police. Smith advised people to stay in their homes and lock their doors.
    The first call was followed by a second about four hours later. The second call informed people that the subject had been located and it was now safe to go outside. A system in use in Yates County allowed the phone calls to be made to addresses within approximately one mile of the incident area. All calls were made within a few minutes.
    Sheriff Ron Spike said, “We wanted to isolate the incident. A reverse 911 system was used. Through a computer, we were able to target all within approximately a one mile radius.”  Deputies went door to door in the immediate area to inform residents.
    Spike said almost all accredited 911 centers have this type of system.  He said, “It is another tool for law enforcement. It is one way for us to get the word out in a very efficient way.”
    The system is not just for emergencies. It is used for messaging, for example, road closings. The system can send three types of messages: advisories, alerts, and community information.



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