Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, June 06

Begaye: Navajo Nation needs alert system now
Task force sets 60-day deadline for Amber Alert style system to be in place

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - In the wake of the abduction and death of Ashlynne Mike, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez called for the creation of an Alert System Task Force in 60 days.

The order came during a Division Directors meeting on May 9.

A task force will develop and implement an alert system to notify the Navajo people of abductions and other emergencies.

Begaye assigned Director of Division of Public Safety Jesse Delmar and Director of Telecommunication Theresa Hopkins to head the development of the task force.

"We need to come up with something formal. We need to identify areas of technology, specifically cell phone technology, that we can use to implement an alert system on the Navajo Nation," Delmar said. "It needs to be done immediately."

One goal of the alert system would be to reach all areas of the Nation including communities that might not have cellular service.

Hopkins said her office has already started to meet with carriers, both wired and wireless, to assess resources and infrastructure that will be needed to develop an alert system based on 911 and Amber Alert.

"We have tested a text messaging alert system with Cellular One and it was successful but we need to test it on a larger scale. We are consulting with both Frontier and Cellular One as they have the biggest investments here on the Nation," Hop¬kins said.

The alert system task force will include Navajo Nation agencies and departments like the Division of Public Safety, Navajo Rangers, Forestry Department and Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency.

"It's time for us to put our foot down and get all the respective agencies on the same page to implement an alert system that will effectively notify the Navajo people of any abductions or other crisis that affect their communities," Begaye said.

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