"So many people use technology now for the basis of getting all their news, and their important information that it helps us use that technology to notify the public quickly," said Jada Thomas, Senior Communications Operator with the St. Joseph police department.
It's through a free system called Nixle Alerts.
Thomas sends the alerts to anyone who subscribes.
People can choose to receive them via text, email or both.
"It's just a matter of logging onto the system, plugging in the information, and then we can designate whether it's a high priority message that needs to go to every subscriber, or if it's something they can choose whether or not to receive," she said.
The text alerts are limited to a certain amount of characters, and details are usually abbreviated.
Emails, however, include a full description.
"It's pretty instantaneous for me to send that nixle message and I can attach a picture of that child, where they were last seen. That gives us several thousand more eyes, and ears, that are out in the public looking for the child. Where if it were your missing child, you would want as many people as possible helping you search," said Thomas.
Kelly Kritzer, a mother of five and grandmother of eight, encourages more people to sign up for Nixle Alerts because summer is a high time for reports of missing children.
"It makes people aware. And, so, therefore, they're furthermore on the lookout, um, giving the description of the child," Kritzer said.
Only 2,200 people in St. Joseph have subscribed to nixle in the past couple of years.
Thomas hopes that number will increase.
To subscribe to Nixle Alerts, click here.
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