How Southborough’s reverse-911 system works

There were a lot of questions about the reverse-911 system after it was used last week to alert residents to suspicious activity in town. Some folks got multiple phone calls while others got none. Interim Police Chief Jane Moran called me to explain how the system works, including what to do if you didn’t get called.

The system is owned and operated by the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department. Southborough, along with a number of other towns in the area, gets to use the system free of charge thanks to a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

The reverse-911 system has been used three times by my memory. First in February of this year to warn of phony solicitors, then again in April to alert residents to the emergency railway work that closed Main Street, and most recently last week for the rash of break-ins.

Here’s the deal on who gets called and who doesn’t. If you have a Verizon land line, you should automatically receive reverse-911 calls. If you have only a mobile phone (Verizon or otherwise), or an alternate phone provider like Vonage, you’re not automatically in the system.

But not to worry. You can get the phone number of your mobile or non-Verizon land line added to the reverse-911 system database by contacting the Southborough Police Department at 508-485-2121.

As for why some residents got multiple calls on Wednesday night, Interim Chief Moran said it was due to a glitch in the system.

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14 years ago

In a way you can consider that a good glitch if you received multiple calls like I did.

14 years ago

Reverse 9-1-1 is an awesome proactive tool and we should applaud our PD for taking this step. Not all phone databases are updated or at 100%, so if you didn’t get a call, the next time Verizon provides the Sheriffs Dept with the database, you might get the call. Currently no cellphones can be added.

14 years ago

Thanks for the update. It’s great we have such a conscientious police department.

14 years ago

I have Verizon home phone, same number for the past 30 years in Southborough, but I am not in the reverse 911 data base. Does anyone know why?

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