ENC law enforcement officials explain emergency alert systems

New Bern and the town of Beaufort breakdown emergency systems following the shooting in California
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 7:11 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Nearly 5 hours went by before people were alerted that an active shooter was on the loose during a shooting in Monterey Park, CA.

Beaufort Police Chief Paul Burdette says, “Time is of the essence and the quicker we can make those notifications regardless of what the situation is, it’s only going to benefit and potentially protect the public.”

For Burdette and the Beaufort community, it’s critical to use interactive social media platforms to notify the public of emergencies but that’s not the only form of alert systems now used.

“We have contracted and we have a subscription service called ‘Regroup’ that members of the community can sign up for and we can push out alerts of emergencies.”

Following a shooting in July of 2022 in front of the Craven County Courthouse, New Bern Public Information Officer Colleen Roberts says New Bern now uses a similar system called ‘New Bern Alerts’.

“Six months ago we launched a brand new system. It’s called New Bern Alerts and we launched it in July of last year and it has already been very successful.”

Along with emergency alerts, Beaufort and New Bern’s subscriptions can also send out general information.

“Right now we have about 13 categories that you can subscribe to and it’s things like street closures, city events, parks and procedures, trash, leaf, and limb, bulk waste pickup,” Roberts told WITN.

Both subscriptions are designed to send out timely information to residents.

When New Bern launched the alert system during the Craven County Courthouse shooting, the subscription only had 55 people. Now, the number of subscribers is nearly 2,600.

These subscriptions are run by not only public information officers but also law enforcement, fire, and parks and recreation so that alerts can be sent out in a timely manner, even in the event of an emergency.