Greensburg police offer community alerts, drug disposal bins
By Bob Stiles
Published: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
Greensburg residents can get alerts about emergency situations in the city via cellphones or email accounts.
And, in another program, they can dispose of unwanted prescriptions medicines at the city police station.
By going to www.nixle.com, residents can register for such information as city road closures, police situations, vehicle accidents and alerts about missing children and lost Alzheimer's patients, police chief Walter “Wally” Lyons said.
“When there's any emergency, notifications will be sent out by the city,” Lyons said. “It's things that we want the community to be aware of.”
A link has also been added to the city website at www.greensburgpa.org to help people find the Nixle site, City Administrator Sue Trout said.
To register, go to either website and follow the directions. Applicants can sign up and receive information through ZIP code, city or other options.
After signing up, applicants will receive a notice from Nixle Connect.
“For a variety of reasons, in emergency situations it is important the municipality can connect with the citizens,” Lyons said.
“We've been looking for some program to give emergency notifications to the community, and this program is free to the municipality and the (residents),” he said.
Nixle was organized in January 2007. More than 4,000 municipalities have been certified to use the service since Nixle began offering connections in 2009, according to the company's website.
The company's site lists answers to frequently asked questions for potential Nixle users.
With the drug drop-off program, people can bring unwanted prescriptions to a bin in the side entrance to the police department.
The Westmoreland County District Attorney's office, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and police are involved in the cooperative effort.
The intent is to get potentially harmful medications, such as pain medicines, out of the hands of children, drug abusers and others, officials said.
“This gives the community the 24/7 ability to dispose of unwanted drugs at the Greensburg police department,” Lyons said.
About two-thirds of the 92 people who died from drug overdoses in the county in 2013 succumbed because of prescription drug abuse, according to the county coroner's office.
Other police departments in Westmoreland County have or will be putting up the medicine-disposal receptacles.
Greensburg will continue to take part in the periodic Drug Take Back Initiative sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Lyons said.
Greensburg police collected several trash bags filled with medication in the last Take Back program sponsored by the DEA, Lyons said.
“There are a lot of prescription drugs out there that people got for some injury, or old pain medicine that has been out there for years,” Lyons said.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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