Breaking News
More () »

How one Mid-South town keeps its residents safe with alert system

Legislator to take charge on statewide active shooter alert system if cities don't

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Many alerts during the Memphis shooting spree were sent out on the Memphis Police Department’s Twitter and Facebook, but some members of the community don’t have social media. 

While the state of Tennessee does not have an active shooter alert, the town of Collierville adapted Alert Collierville just over 12 years ago.

Chief of Fire Administration Mark King played a major role in getting the initiative running.

“If there was an earthquake in town, or flooding in town, or there was an ice storm or a chemical spill, or some type of police action like what happened the other night in Memphis, the town of Collierville has the capability of notifying all its citizens all at one time that there’s a danger in town – to shelter in place,” King said.

Though Tennessee does not currently have an initiative like this in place, Representative Larry Miller, a Memphis Native, said an active shooter alert system is absolutely something he would support.

“I think it would be something we would want to do almost immediately,” Miller said. “And after this phone call certainly, I will call my assistant and begin the legwork to find out what system we have in place currently.”

Collierville’s current system is local to residents of the area, but it’s inexpensive for the area.

“We use a system called Hyper-Reach,” King said. “It costs the town about $15,000. There’s about $52,000 people in town, so that’s about 3 to 3.5 cents per citizen. So it’s a fairly inexpensive system to use.”

It can even notify particular groups of people in non-serious situations.

“We could notify all the city employees at one time that it’s a snow day,” King said.

Lighthearted situation or not, this is a system Memphis does not have at the same scale as Collierville. Each landline in Collierville has the alert system installed for call updates, and the town encourages new residents to sign up for alerts on all of their devices. Residents can text “alerts” to, or call, 901-446-0299, they can visit the link here, or tell their Alexa device: “Alexa, enable Hyper-Reach”.

Representative Miller said if state legislation is necessary to bring an alert system across the entire state, he’ll take that lead.

“If it takes legislation to put something in place, then it’s no question,” Miller said. “We will be introducing legislation to activate that and enact that law.”

Before You Leave, Check This Out