(MyNews4.com & KRVN) Reno, Nev. - News 4 is partnering with an innovative new program to help keep the community safe. "Alert ID--My Neighborhood" enables Washoe County residents to log onto a computer program which lists all criminal activity and reports in their neighborhood, receive emails and texts with critical information, and communicate with the neighbors about what's going on in their area.
And it's all free to the public and the law enforcement agencies that are taking part.
Alert ID is the brainchild of Rob and Keli Wilson of Reno, who briefly lost one of their three children at a California amusement park several years ago.
"We lost one of our kids for 45 minutes," Keli Wilson remembers. "Thankfully, that part [of the ordeal] was over quickly, but during that time, it was absolute panic."
The couple was determined to find a way to provide information quickly to the public in case of similar emergencies, but also in cases of thefts, violence, and even natural disasters. Rob Wilson is a software developer who put his skills to use to form Alert ID.
Local law enforcement agencies quickly signed on, providing information from their files to the website that is now up and running in the community. Volunteer groups like Community Emergency Response Team-- CERT-- provided hundreds of volunteers to go door to door, handing out information to the public.
"[We can say] 'hey, there's thinkgs going on and I want you guys to be aware and protect yourselves,'" said Kaydee Paschall, a CERT volunteer. "It is a social media tool that helps facilitate the partnership between law enforcement officers and the community."
Participants simply log onto the website and provide their name and any number of addresses for their homes, workplaces, childrens' schools or places of worship. The program will respond by providing criminal activity logs, as well as the opportunity to communicate directly with other nearby residents who can then submit information and questions to each other and to law enforcement.
The program is piloting in Washoe County, but will expand to cover the rest of the United States in coming months.