The East Hampton Town police announced this week that they have launched both a Facebook page and a Twitter account in order to increase communication with the public.
This announcement comes on the heels of a successfully implemented use of the department's Code Red program last weekend, when Charlotte Silverbert, an 80-year-old with dementia, wandered out of her house on Karin Drive in East Hampton late Saturday night.
The police began searching for her, calling on Suffolk County K-9 units and a helicopter, as well. As the night wore on, police became concerned that she might walk off in Northwest Woods, and they activated a system in place to notify all residents by phone of an emergency. The calls went out at 11:40 p.m. to residents within a two-mile radius.
The woman was located when a person who had received the recorded message found her inside a parked vehicle, according to Capt. Chris Anderson.
Then a second round of calls went out, notifying residents that the woman had been found. Chief Michael Sarlo said in an email that police received an "outpouring of complaints to both our dispatch center, as well as to the county dispatch center." The callers were unhappy to have been woken so late in the night by a call from the police.
Both the chief and the captain asked for the public's understanding in the matter. "People should think, 'What if that was your mother, your sister, your wife?' " Captain Anderson said Tuesday.
"We ask for the continued support and patience of our citizens as we work to protect this community," Chief Sarlo said.
"We are in the early stages of establishing protocols," Chief Sarlo said Tuesday in an email, "and will be utilizing social media more in the coming weeks to share information with the public in reference to road closures, special events, notifications of missing and wanted persons, etc."