Wauwatosa police setting up reverse 911 system

Wauwatosa police setting up reverse 911 system

By Jaclyn Brandt. CREATED Jul 9, 2013 - UPDATED: Jul 9, 2013

WAUWATOSA - We all know not to give our personal information over the phone or on the computer. So when one man from Wauwatosa was asked to do it, for a reverse 911 system, red flags went up.

Ronald Sametz said he was so confused about the city's effort to get his contact information for a new reverse 911 system he actually thought he was being scammed.

Sametz likes to screen his calls, so when he heard one on his machine asking for personal information, it left him scratching his head.

“Click on the code red logo located on the left rail of our home page and enter you contact information,” the message said.

Sametz said the thought of his personal information in cyberspace is scary, especially since he doesn’t own a computer.

“I thought it was some sort of a scam or an emergency or something,” he said. “I was frightened when I heard it.”

But it's not a scam. Police are getting information for a reverse 911 system called "Code Red."

“It allows us to not only call landline numbers we had the ability to do in the past, but now we can contact cell phones. We can email,” said Capt. Timothy Sharpee, Wauwatosa Police Department. “We can text.”

But what if, like Sametz, you don't have a computer?

"If they don't have internet or a computer we'll do it for them," Capt. Sharpee said.

The system isn't just being used for emergency police notifications, but also city utilities.

Police say taking part in the new system is not mandatory.

Nick Montes contributed to this report.