San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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The San Marcos Police Department has joined with the Hays County Sheriff’s office to sponsor a county-wide Citizen Observer Alert Network to allow citizens to sign up for crime alerts by text message or email.

The program was announced Monday by Police Chief Howard Williams and Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler at a joint press conference.

The Citizens Observer program and Tip411will enable residents to participate in two-way communications with local law enforcement. The programs will allow the police department to update citizens on situations that require their attention and for the public to provide anonymous tips directly to the agencies. Interested residents may sign up for alerts from San Marcos Police and Hays County Sheriff’s Office here.

“We constantly strive to find ways to improve delivery of our services,” said Police Chief Howard Williams. “Keeping up with improvements in communication technology is one of those ways. We hope the citizens we serve take advantage of this opportunity to help us deal with crime in our community.”

All tips are filtered through the Citizen Observer website to make them anonymous before being sent on to the law enforcement agency. Officers can then communicate through text message or e-mail with the anonymous tipster to ask clarifying questions or for additional information. The tipster is never identified to law enforcement unless the tipster chooses to identify themselves to the officer.

Residents can sign up on a secure server that will protect their privacy.

  • Citizen Alerts inform all registered users of public safety concerns in their areas. The alerts contain information on crime trends, descriptions of suspects, missing persons, and advice on personal safety and how to safeguard property.
  • Business Alerts are targeted to specific business types to receive specific information about crimes pertinent to the business
  • Case Alerts will allow law enforcement to send out information about open cases to registered Citizen Observer users.
  • Watch Group Alerts allow law enforcement to send targeted alerts to specific neighborhoods with information about crimes happening in their immediate area.

Area residents may also sign up in a separate program for emergency notifications on their cell phones by registering here. The system uses a “reverse dialing” telephone method to notify members of the public of critical emergency information in situations where property or human life are in danger.

If residents need assistance in signing up for this program, they may call Capital Area Council of Governments, Homeland Security Division, at 512-916-6035.

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