According to a recent story in the El Paso Times, private security firms and law enforcement and public safety agencies are collaborating on a new technology project that will allow businesses, school districts, and colleges in El Paso, Texas, to receive instant emergency alerts from local police and fire departments.

In addition, businesses will be able to use the new Internet-based system to share information about security issues.

“It will give us the ability at a moment’s notice to send out an emergency notice from the police department or fire department,” explained Michael Breitinger, executive director of the Central Business Association and Downtown Management District.

More than 70 businesses have signed up to participate thus far. Once fully implemented, the system will be used across the city, and participants will be able to receive alerts or share information via e-mail, cell phones, fax, Blackberries, or any other text-enabled gadget. The applications for the system include alerting businesses and other recipients to nearby robberies, impending disasters, criminals on the loose or lost children.

The El Paso-based Law Enforcement and Private Security (LEAPS) group is helping to implement the system, and police officials say officers will be able to use the system to disseminate video, photos and other data.                EC