Ohio State to rethink its emergency-alert system

When violent crimes are reported on campus, police are required by federal law to notify the public. But officers from the Ohio State University Police are worried that few people are getting the message, reports the campus newspaper, The Lantern. For the last four years, the Department of Public Safety at OSU has used an “opt-in” system in which crime alerts are sent only to those who have subscribed to receive the alerts via eMail. But on a campus with more than 50,000 students, only 2,633 people receive these eMail messages. “I would expect more people to be registered users,” said OSU Police Chief Paul Denton. In the wake of three crime alerts reported in the last week, Denton has received numerous calls from people asking why the alerts aren’t sent to everyone at the university. The answer, Denton said, is that the opt-in system is simply what people wanted when the crime notification system was created. That preference might have changed, though, and the system may change as well. The university’s Emergency Notification Committee will meet with vendors of mass-communication systems later this week to look into new technology and reconsider whether the opt-in system is still appropriate. The committee will make a decision after further meetings with vendors next week…

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