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West Point Police and Fire host meeting

WEST POINT — The West Point Police and Fire chiefs called the community together Thursday night at the West Point Active Life Center to discuss what to do in case of emergency.

Most of the conversation centered on what to do when calling 911 and how residents can protect themselves when emergency situations occur.

Lt. Roman Ramseur of the West Point Police Department told the crowd at the senior center to not be shy about calling 911 if they see a crime has been committed or if there is suspicious activity in their neighborhood. He said residents should be neighborly, but be aware of strangers they don’t recognize.

“You know your neighborhood better than most people,” Ramseur said. “Sometimes better than the police, so be suspicious.”

When it comes to protecting the home, he said to be sure windows in the home are secure and to use a second locking device to ensure safety.

Also, when leaving for an extended trip, he said not to advertise the absence.

“People use this as an opportunity to commit crimes at your home,” he said.

Ramseur said if residents are concerned about crime in their neighborhood, it’s best to walk in pairs and if a person is uncomfortable in their surroundings, the best thing to do is leave.

If a person’s home is broken into, Ramseur said not to enter the house, but instead find a safe location, call 911 and wait there until police arrive.

When calling 911, a person will be asked to provide an address, name and phone number and describe what happened. Ramseur said it’s best to briefly describe the events, including when it happened and who did it if possible. A description of a suspect’s vehicle and which direction it went is also helpful.

“While you are providing information, we are on our way,” he said.

When public safety personnel arrives on the scene, they will ask the same questions again for clarity. However, if a person calls 911, and they don’t want to be identified by the police, that is possible as well. Ramseur said a caller can remain anonymous and say they don’t want to meet with police on the scene. The dispatchers will ask for a name and address for a call back reference if needed, but that information doesn’t have to be relayed to police if the called declines.

West Point Fire Chief Mitt Smith encouraged the crowd that if they need to call 911, be sure they are calling the appropriate service.

He said in the age of cell phones, some calls get sent to other agencies, but it’s as easy as telling the dispatcher which service is needed.

Also, there is a way for residents to be alerted when messages happen — either through a phone call, text message or email. He said residents can go to the Troup County website and sign up for the CivicReady, which is the county’s mass notification system.

The resident will need to sign up with an address, phone number or email and then when the county sends out an emergency alert, it comes directly to their phone or computer. The CivicReady link in on the home page of the Troup County website.

Smith said residents have to sign up to get the alerts.

“If you don’t sign up, they ain’t going to call you,” he said jokingly. “There is some ownership there.”

Smith said residents are already paying for the service with their taxes, so it’s best to take advantage of it. For those without internet access, he encouraged them to go to the library to sign up for the service.

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