Local police in Ontario are being invited to start sending out mobile alerts to warn residents about emergencies, such as active shooters.
The Globe and Mail obtained a memo from the Ministry of the Solicitor-General that informs local police chiefs about how they can begin issuing “public safety (policing) emergency alerts” when facing severe threats.
The memo outlines that police forces will be able to use the alerting systems if they “believe a public safety emergency alert would have a direct impact on saving lives.”
It outlines that alert messages sent to phones can’t be longer than 600 letters, and that they should inform people about where the threat is and what they can do to stay safe.
These memos are meant to be localized, and can be sent to a city, region or township. This is different from Ontario’s Amber Alerts, which are sent to millions of people across the entire province.
This comes after concerns following the tragedy in Nova Scotia where an armed individual killed 22 people, during which an mobile emergency alert was never sent out.
Authorities had created a mobile alert message but it was never issued due to confusion about how police were supposed to collaborate with the provincial public servants who send out the alerts. Police instead had to send out alerts through Twitter.
The new guidelines for the mobile emergency alerts aim to inform residents across Ontario about specific threats and other severe dangers.
Source: The Globe and Mail