While not a good announcement, I am pleased to find out KU has a very good emergency notification system.  The issue was the murder of a KU student and a report of the vehicle of a person of interest.

I received the following text message on my cell at 4:34 AM:

Alert: KU Police (Lawrence campus) – Student found dead off campus.  Use caution w/ person of interest, Adolfo Garcia.  Go to www.ku.edu.

I also received the following email at 4:55 AM:

INFORMATION FROM Lawrence Police Department
Media Release-Death Investigation, July 4, 2008

Police ask anyone with information about Adolfo Garcia-Nunez, also known as Fito Garche, to call Lawrence Police at 785-843-7509 or Crimestoppers Hotline at 785-843-TIPS. He is a person of interest in the death of KU student Jana Lynne Mackey. He was last seen driving a white Ford F-150 pick-up truck.

Lawrence Police are attempting to locate 46-year-old Adolfo Garcia-Nunez, of Lawrence, in connection with an investigation into the death of 25-year-old Jana Lynne Mackey, of Lawrence. Lawrence Police initiated an investigation to locate Ms. Mackey after a friend reported her missing at 4:30 p.m. on July 3, 2008. At 6:30 p.m, Lawrence Police located Ms. Mackey’s vehicle in the Lawrence Memorial Hospital parking lot at 4th and Michigan Street. Following further investigation, Ms. Mackey was found deceased inside the suspect’s residence at 409 Michigan at 11:23 p.m. The death at this time appears to be suspicious.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding Adolfo Garcia-Nunez to call the Lawrence Police Department at 785-843-7509 or the Crimestoppers Hotline at 785-843-TIPS. Mr. Garcia-Nunez was last seen driving a white Ford F-150 pick-up truck. This investigation is ongoing and no further details are available at this time.

KU Public Safety suggests extreme caution if you have contact with Garcia-Nunez.

Additional information will be posted at www.lawrencepolice.org when available.

I really appreciate this information, and I hope that these emergency alert systems prove useful.  Something like this is especially important in a tornado-frequented zone like Kansas.  Hopefully this system will prove fast when the next tornado warning is issued (and so my mom doesn’t have to worry quite so much).

Smaller organizations (KU uses a big, outsourced system) could create a Twitter account and have people subscribe. Twitter updates can be sent to cell phones, as well as instant message accounts and other communication tools.  In fact, here are some good examples (and a Google search is helpful too).

In regards to the use of Twitter as an emergency tool, I really appreciate that social networking tools can be found to have uses other than with high-school kids.