We recently read in the news that the Wichita, KS is looking for public feedback on how to reduce unnecessary dispatches for both burglar and fire alarms. What’s interesting to see is how Wichita is going about this.
They are going to the internet and Facebook, posting a survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CW5GBDD), and seeking public feedback. It’s a novel use of social media, and one that SIAC full supports (https://www.facebook.com/cityofwichita).
The earlier information is shared and opportunities are created for open public input, the stronger a final decision will be. Because more views are vetted during this process, the final adopted solution is one that should be supported by local citizens
Another interesting and supportive point about what Wichita is doing is the fact that they are creating a transparent process. The information is out in the open for all to see. People will certainly disagree on specifics. But through open discussion, more and better options should emerge that benefit city.
Contrast that openness with the example of Akron, OH, where a decision was made without any discussion or citizen input, and you can understand why so much angst has arisen in that community.
Social media is an important trend that can help cities and towns involve their citizens in key decisions. SIAC supports every means of communicating to citizens and keeping issues on alarms and alarm response out in the public for input and debate – they are the primary stakeholders and we applaud efforts to receive their input (and not make unilateral decisions with policy changes on a service most consider as essential to public safety).