The City of Naperville has a lot of cool stuff. Things that most communities don’t have, and city officials take pride in that fact. City officials have all sorts of cool new toys that most communities could only wish to have.
For example, the City has initiated a new communication system called the ‘Naper Notify Mass Notification System’, which allows the City to quickly and directly send communications to residents through a wide array of devices to inform them about important news or situations.
When a situation arises, the City can communicate the specifics to residents via text, email, cell phone, home phone, or work phone. It was sold to officials as a wonderful, state-of-the-art method of keeping residents informed on a ‘need to know’ basis.
Last Monday morning when residents ‘needed to know’ something, it didn’t work. The ‘something’ was a police search in the central area of the city, for two robbery suspects. The search lasted over six hours and netted one of the two suspects, while the other vanished in a residential area.
The city’s communication manager, Linda LaCloche said it was “unfortunate” that it didn’t work. A better selection of words for ‘unfortunate’ would be unacceptable, deplorable, or repugnant. A robbery suspect on the loose in a residential area, or any area for that fact, is an absolute ‘must know’ for residents. This is not a communication about a parade, inclement weather, or somebody’s missing garbage can lid; this is a serious, possibly life-threatening situation, and Naperville’s state-of-the-art system failed miserably.
Watch and listen as Naperville ‘Police Chief’ Bob Marshall awkwardly tries to answer mayor Steve Chirico’s question about the debacle:
Chirico is correct that if we can’t use it, then it’s not much use. Marshall’s excuse is that they don’t use it a lot; not a very reassuring answer for residents.
Now watch and listen as council member Patty Gustin asks Marshall if he can provide a description of the other subject:
OK, so there was a press release, one guy is in jail, and they are actively searching for the other suspect, but what is the description? Marshall never answered the question. I was waiting to hear something, other than a socially acceptable non-productive answer. He had the venue to do so, those sitting in council chambers, those watching on TV, and those streaming on line. Either he doesn’t have an answer, or he missed a golden opportunity to share with the public. Another ‘Naper Notify’ that didn’t work.