Agencies urge registration for emergency notification on mobile devices

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A shooting in Castle Rock. A lockdown at a high school. A midnight arrest that got out of control.

Criminal activities in the last two weeks of February ended in gunfire in a quiet neighborhood in Castle Rock and a six-hour manhunt in a Parker neighborhood.

Police fired at a car containing three suspected burglars Feb. 21 in Castle Rock’s Plum Creek neighborhood, in an incident that resulted in the lockdown of DC Oakes High School.

Two days later, Parker residents living in Clarke Farms were advised via CodeRED to remain in their homes when an arrest in Castle Rock went awry. The reverse notification arrived around 1 a.m. Feb. 23, while police searched for a suspect who exchanged fire with officers in Castle Rock before leading police on a chase, abandoning his car and fleeing on foot somewhere near Clarke Farms.

The incidents prompted law enforcement agencies to remind residents to register with the county’s CodeRED emergency notification system.

CodeRED delivers public safety messages with high-speed telephone emergency notification to residents. The system automatically reaches residences and businesses with CenturyLink landlines, said Deborah Sherman, Douglas County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

Mobile devices are another thing.

Cell phones are not automatically registered in the CodeRED system but can be added for emergency alerts at no cost.

Residents can register a cell number or email address to ensure notification arrives, whether at home or at work. The system can target specific areas with prerecorded phone messages, emails or texts and requires contact information associated with addresses.

To register a mobile device, go online to NotifyDouglasCounty.org and enter a full name, street address, city, state, ZIP code and primary phone number.

Data is kept confidential, according to the sheriff’s office, and messages will be identified by caller ID with the name “Emergency Comm.”

The most recent test of the system was in October, when CodeRED reported 147,000 Douglas County phone numbers were registered with the system, Sherman said. Since then, an additional 58,000 have been opted in, she said.

“Code RED has been so impressed with our reach they want to use us as an example nationwide,” Sherman said. “I just think people are really responsible in Douglas County.”

CodeRED can reach cell phones with text messages or a phone call and is triggered by criminal activity, wildfires and other potentially life-threatening events.