Several of you wrote in to say you received one or more reverse-911 calls warning about road closures due to the NECC road race on Saturday morning. Problem was, the calls were received on Saturday evening, long after the race was over. I asked Police Chief Jane Moran what happened.
Moran told me the reverse-911 system is owned and operated by the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department via a grant from the federal government. Southborough, along with many other towns in Worcester county, participates in the system at no cost.
At some point last week, the Southborough Police Department asked the sheriff’s department to send out a reverse-911 call on Friday night or Saturday morning before the road race. Moran said she’s not sure what happened, but the sheriff’s department didn’t send out the call until Saturday evening.
Moran said that despite this weekend’s mistake, the reverse-911 system has “served us well many times over.” Before signing up for the free service about 1-1/2 years ago, Moran said she looking into the option of purchasing a private reverse-911 system, but it would cost the town around $65K.
“So, yes, from time to time there may be a mistake made by the participating agency, however I would not become discouraged or feel that our lives were put in any danger,” Moran wrote via email. ” It is a free community, public service announcement and is still of great value and resource.”
Thank you for checking on this, Susan.
While I understand the frustration at receiving a couple of inconvenient calls, I still appreciate the utility of the system and the attempts at providing important information town-wide. Am hopeful ” bugs” can be worked-out and this initiative continues to move forward.
Chief Moran’s answer is unsettling. She should have said:
“We are concerned about the failure of the reverse-911 system. Fortunately, this was an advisory situation, and not a genuine emergency. We are undertaking an investigation to understand and correct the failure, lest our response to an actual emergency is compromised in any way. I will personally let you know the outcome.”