Cell Phone Alert System and Policing

For the first time, a cell phone alert system helped police capture the suspect of the New York and New Jersey bombings.
News 25’s Laurene Callander checked in with local residents to get their take on this new way of warning people.
Monday morning, New York and New Jersey residents received a text that was different than any other. The message contained the name and age of the suspect in the recent bombings in the two states. This was the first alert used as an electronic wanted poster. Gulfport resident Ethan Lee said, “I think it’s a good idea as long as it is implemented the right way because a lot of people don’t watch TV anymore, they check their phones.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stated the alert system had an extraordinary effect on the investigation, but some say the alert could be frightening and cause a bit of panic. Gulfport resident Sandy Morrison said, “Well the end result should be productive and I think everyone has just a little panic thought inward us when something serious is nearby.”
Receiving a text alert about a missing child or severe weather is fairly common, but this was the first alert used to aid in a manhunt. Is this the new way of modern policing? Harrison County Emergency Management Agency Director Rupert Lacy said, “It is. The more information that we can share sometimes to help in investigations and into our business and all hazards, the more the public is getting the right message.”
The message is to keep a vigilant eye in your community and if you see something you should say something. Is this a tool that could be used here on the Gulf Coast? “Yes, it would be something that could be considered and more than likely used here on the Coast region,” said Lacy.

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