Springfield Announces "ALERT" System - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Springfield Announces "ALERT" System

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by Marcus Washington

SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. - The Springfield Police Department has announced a program to alert business owners and help catch crooks in action.

When you think of a smaller city like Springfield, crime isn't the first thing that comes to mind. 

"There's a criminal element everywhere, even in a small town like this," said Johnny Brown, owner of Marie's New and Used Furniture, who has been a burglar victim. 

"I've had a break-in or two, but nothing major and like any other business, you get shop lifting," he said.

With around 350 businesses within Springfield city limits, Police Chief David Thompson felt it's was a problem happening too often. 

Last year, the department conducted a survey asking business owners what they thought needed to be done.

"The business community wants more contact with us. They want to know what's going on around them and that helps them protect themselves," said Chief Thompson.

Lieutenant William Watkins suggested adopting the Business A.L.E.R.T. System, ALERT meaning Area Law Enforcement and Realtors Team.

One business at a time, Chief Thompson alone goes out and gets the email addresses and contact information needed.

"I get to walk into every store and business in the city and it helps establish a connection a bit. I get to find out about what they're all about, they get to find out what I', all about and sometimes I have an expertise that is helpful to them," he said.

Once the information is gathered, Lt. Watkins enters it into the system. If and when a business related crime happens, all businesses will be alerted at once.

"We share the videos on those, we can share photographs of those individuals, arrest records, so there are a lot of things we can share that will help us later on down the road," said chief Thompson.

Business owners like Brown has joined the program and feel it will be another useful tool in helping cut back on crime to local businesses.

"That way we can be on the watch for this particular crime or this particular individual," said Brown. 

Because this alert system is done electronically, the cost is nothing for business owners, the police department or tax payers.

The department plans to start using the ALERT system by the first of the year, with weekly information sent out and immediate alerts.

The cities of Clarksville and Nashville are using a similar alert system.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office was the first to use the "Business Alert System" here in Tennessee in 1984.

Email: mwashington@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5_MarcusWashington
Twitter: Twitter.com/NC5_MWashington

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