(Stillwater, OK) — The City of Stillwater strongly believes sharing accurate information with the public is vital and increases safety and security for the people we serve. Our leadership cares about the community as a whole and wants to keep communication clear and open.
“The information we share helps comfort those living and growing their families in and around Stillwater,” City Manager Norman McNickle said. “Our commitment to transparency ensures the community knows what is happening in our city.”
SPD and other emergency response agencies routinely let the community know about safety, security and traffic issues. They also inform the public about emergency situations that impact our city overall, even if they don’t directly affect everyone.
Stillwater Emergency Management uses a combination of media alerts and social media – including live streams of road conditions – to keep the community informed about emergencies and prepared for weather events.
“We have a commitment to safety and to responsibly serving the public,” Police Chief Jeff Watts said. “We remain committed to constantly striving to better protect our citizens. And we believe that timely sharing of important information and ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones is part of how our communications efforts keep you safer.”
Over the past several years, the City Manager’s Office and the Office of Communications have demonstrated their commitment to transparency by adding staff dedicated to the Police and Fire departments. Communications assistants now help the Stillwater Police Department’s Public Information Officer inform the community through alerts to media outlets and social media and the Fire Marshall’s Office with public outreach and information.
SPD is in the process of upgrading its software to a modern system that allows both officers and citizens to file reports online, provides better tracking of calls for service so the department con provide more accurate information about its activities and offers online crime mapping capability, all on one platform.
With the goal of ensuring transparent, effective communication, the City of Stillwater’s Police, Fire and Emergency Management departments have worked with the Communications Director to develop a plan that focuses on providing relevant, accurate information in a timely manner to residents, visitors, the media and other stakeholders when emergencies, crises or other important situations occur.
The “Communications Plan: Media and Alerts” is a flexible framework that can be adapted to meet the needs in different situations and as circumstances change.
“We don’t know what we don’t know,” Communications Director Dawn Jones said.
City leaders, including the City Manager, Deputy City Manager, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Emergency Management Director, Public Information Officer, City Attorney or Mayor will activate the “Communications Plan: Media & Alerts” when a situation arises that requires response by a significant number of emergency personnel and/or vehicles, affects others who aren’t immediately involved, disrupts traffic flow, requires people to avoid the area or could generate concern and questions from the community.
Situations that could prompt activation of the plan include high-risk police events, threats, fires and collisions that result in serious injury or death or that cause an extended road closure. It could also be activated in the event of severe weather or other natural disasters and in other types of situations that could put public health at risk.
In an emergency situation, those most directly affected and their next of kin, as needed, will be contacted first to provide accurate information so they don’t have to rely on outside sources that might not have the facts. After that, news media, patrons and other stakeholders, City Councilors, City employees and the general community will be informed. The order in which the groups are contacted could vary, depending on the situation.
Only information that is known to be true and is verifiable will be shared. Although transparency and responsiveness are priorities, accuracy will always take precedence over speed. The City and its emergency response agencies will collaborate with community partners and the media to disseminate reliable information to the community.
A variety of tools could be used to ensure people get the information they need, including alerts and media releases, posts on the City’s website and social media, news conferences, mass notification through calls or texting, signs, postcards, flyers, traffic signs, electronic billboards, going door-to-door and voicemail messages.
More information about the City of Stillwater and how it serves the community can be found at http://stillwater.org/.
For inquiries, contact Dawn Jones, PIO, Communications Department at (405) 742-8214 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.