Boynton police implement text messaging system

Reporter: John Bachman

A local police department, following the lead of teens, are jumping on the texting bandwagon.

Boynton Beach police are trying to better communicate with the community. It's something we've been hearing about on college campuses in Florida and around the nation.

So, what do you do when there is a rabid fox running loose in your town? It's a question Boynton Beach police were trying to answer in December when the city needed to.

Texting would alert residents and business owners in a matter of seconds. The fox had bitten five people, and the police department called neighbors at home during the day.

But not everyone got the message. Police spokesperson Stephanie Slater said a lot of people called the department saying they received the information, but not until they returned home later that day and wished they would have known earlier.

So, the police department recently started the Internet based Citizen Observer Program.

People can go online, register, and, then, they'll receive text messages and e-mails from authorities immediately informing them of emergency situations. Like a double fatal accident last week that closed Congress Boulevard for hours during rush hour.

Boynton Beach police officers have been making the rounds to different neighborhood meeting and groups trying to spread the message. "I really think it's a great idea. I think it enhances the services we receive here in Boynton Beach," says one resident.

Another facet of the program allows people to text message the police with their tips.

The system is ready to go, and the police department is waiting for more people to sign up. If you'd like to sign up or see what other departments are using the system, click on the link located at the top left of your screen.