PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Easley Police Department, in conjunction with Pickens Police Department, announced a new warning system for community members.
The two departments have received equipment and been provided access to utilize Digital Siren by Pursuit Alert. The system will enable citizens the ability to download an application that will alert them to police pursuits and other emergencies within their area, police said.
“Historically, for law enforcement, pursuits have always been a problem,” said Tim Morgan, Founder of Digital Siren.
As it’s happening, a GPS pin can tell you where something is occurring in real time.
“And the dispatch center can now alert when they get a report of an impaired driver and a drunk driver nearby. Historically, there’s nothing that you can do but dispatch an officer. But now you can alert the public nearby, “hey pay attention there’s been a reported drunk driver right where you are. Or there’s been a wrong-way driver reported. It sends a specific alert for a wrong-way driver, an active shooter, an impaired driver. If an officer is out on patrol, and sees a funnel cloud, he can call dispatch and say “hey, send a weather alert out,” Morgan said.
“A great benefit for us. We engage in approximately, about 65 pursuits a year. So, this is a warning system for the public to let them know that a pursuit is near them. With this app, it will alert them to when a pursuit is near them to get them to move over, to get out of the way so that we can continue the pursuit and they can be safe,” said Chief Stan Whitten, Easley Police Department. “There are warning systems for hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning, but police pursuits kill more people annually than all of those combined. It only makes sense for us to have a warning system as well,” Whitten said.
The Easley Police Department plans to put the system in all 32 police cars soon. The Pickens Police Department already has the device installed in its cars.
“On my personal self, I have used it three times so far in pursuits. One being within the last week, I have used it. So, it has been effective already,” said Officer Caleb Cassell, Pickens Police Department. “It will be very beneficial to alert the public that we are approaching and they can get a heads up, to go ahead and move to the shoulder, so we don’t have to navigate through traffic and busy intersections when they can already be on the shoulder when we approach,” Cassell said. “It let’s them know of a police pursuit in their area within a mile or two-mile range.”
“It can be used for a traffic accident for example. A move over alert button on the device. It’s got a number of features. During a pursuit, often times drugs are a part of that and people throw drugs out, we can push a button on this device, and it will drop a pin, a GPS pin where these drugs are thrown out. So, a huge asset for our agencies,” Chief Whitten said.
Donnie Wilson, owner of DRW Transport, a local tractor-trailer transportation service, gifted both departments with the equipment.
“Once I talked to Tim, started questioning him about the Digital Siren, I knew it was something that we needed to be a part of, and especially in the trucking industry. I have drivers on the road every day and I’m very excited and I knew we wanted to be a part of it,” Wilson said.
Wilson gave a $3,292 check to the Pickens Police Department, and a $6,398 check to the Easley Police Department.
“Thanks to Mr. Donnie Wilson of DRW Transport and Mr. Tim Morgan, Owner and Creator of Pursuit Alert, the Easley Police Department and the Pickens Police Department, is now equipped with technology that will provide lifesaving alerts to our community,” Chief Whitten said.
Law enforcement agencies are encouraging the community to download the app now.
“You can not protect 23,000 residents with 53 officers, without the help of the community. And this is their opportunity to get involved,” Chief Whitten said. “They can have this asset, and help us, help them, keep them safe.”
The Easley Police Department will begin installing the systems in its cars on Wednesday.
More information about the alert system can be found here.