New emergency alert system lauches

Posted at 8:22 AM, Sep 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-23 08:22:04-04

When the clock struck midnight, Thursday a new alert system was added to our phones.

"You always have your phone on you," Kristen Cole. "To get that alert and be like 'okay wow that's really close to me. I need to re-plan what I'm doing.'"

It's similar to an Amber Alert and will notify you if there's an emergency near you.

"The example, is Minnesota this past weekend," Representative Brandt Iden said. "Where we had someone at the mall wielding a knife. I think that shoppers at the mall would have liked to know."

After the Kalamazoo shootings, Iden and other lawmakers passed a bill that would created the statewide emergency alert system.

"In only 4 months time we were able to push this legislation through and get it to the governor's desk," Iden said. "The governor looked right at me and said Brandt this is the stuff that saves lives in Michigan."

If police come to an incident that could endanger lives, "we would just gather all of the information that we have," said Lt. Lisa Rish, assistant Lansing Post Commander for State Police.

From the seats of their patrol cars, officers are now able to send that information to state police headquarters.

"It has to be an identifiable threat. It has to be ongoing, immediate, it has to impact the safety," Lt. Rish said.

When it meets those criteria the message is sent to our phones.

"It let's us get out a very important public safety message quickly to a large number of people"

While it's not recommended by Lt. Rish, if you do want to take the alerts off your phone. All you have to do is go into your settings, go to the notifications center, scroll to the bottom, and you'll find government alerts. From there, emergency alerts, switch it then it's off"

"Hopefully would think that maybe people would just continue to live their lives knowing that that's there to kind of ease your mind," Cole said.

And use the new system as an added tool for safety.