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Police send out email alerts

Oak Harbor police officers are entering cyberspace to help make the community safer and more informed.

The police department just started a new program, the Community Alert Network, by which officers will send out email alerts to residents. The messages will keep the community apprised of any crime trends, but also provide an opportunity for people to help investigators with unsolved cases, fugitives, missing people and other matters.

“We try to get information to people in a lot of different ways,” Lt. John Dyer said. “Any one way may not reach everyone.”

Dyer said the email service will be a valuable tool to get the word out when police learn about things like a mail scam that was going around last year. Or to notify families about a registered sex offender moving in.

“I think as we go we’ll find even more uses for it,” he said.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown started a similar program when he came into office. He asked people at community meetings to sign up for email alerts targeted at their area of the county.

Recently, the Sheriff’s Office used the cybertool to notify South Whidbey residents about a string of commercial burglaries.

“So far it’s worked pretty well,” Undersheriff Kelly Mauck said. “We’ve gotten good, responsive feedback.”

People can subscribe to Oak Harbor’s Community Alert Network in one of two ways. They can go to the city of Oak Harbor’s Web site at www.oakharbor.org and navigate to the “Police” page. From there, they should click on the “Subscribe” link and send an email. They will receive a verification email, which they must respond to.

Or people may send an email directly to subscribe-964701203@ezinedirector.net

Those who live in the county can sign up for email alerts from the Sheriff’s Office by sending a request to WylieF@co.island.wa.us.

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