Officials say CodeRED system worked in keeping citizens safe during shooting

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Fargo, ND (Valley News Live): With the horrific situation playing out in a north Fargo neighborhood, dozens of people huddled inside their homes on Wednesday night. Authorities sent out a CodeRED alert telling those nearby about the situation and to stay safe. So how well did it work? And why did some nowhere near the scene still get alerts?

“The mind of somebody that wants to do harm doesn't care about whether somebody's sleeping or not,” said Jim Prochniak, Cass County Emergency Manager.

Gun shots rang out, police swarmed the area and a huge perimeter was set up. A man with a gun was targeting officers in north Fargo.

“Getting that word out, that's what we're going to do. The other option is not acceptable,” said Prochniak.

He said multiple CodeRED alerts went out to people inside and near the perimeter. Prochniak said imagine if the hospital workers ended their shifts and walked outside, or people left for work and school. The loss of life could have been even greater.

“A cellphone is your contact. A lot of people don't have landlines anymore. But now you move and you relocate. And you don't update, then it's still going to contact you in your new neighborhood,” said Prochniak.

Valley News Live received several complaints of people nowhere near the area where the shooting was happening getting CodeRED calls, texts and emails. And Prochniak said that’s because people need to update their info with CodeRED. If you’ve moved, you should update the info in the system with your new numbers, address, or if you’ve moved out of the area, just remove yourself from it.

“And they just didn't want to be bothered, which is kind of a scary thought,” he said.

Prochniak said they received three types of follow up calls over the last few days. Some people were irritated they were woken up, others wanted to get signed up as fast as possible, and still others wanted removed because they don’t live in the area anymore.

“When you get those alerts and you realize no that's not the time to be poking my head out the door, that's when it truly makes a difference. And that's why CodeRed was a success the other night,” said Prochniak.

Click the links next to this page to get signed up for CodeRED in Cass and Clay Counties. It's also used to warn people of man made or natural disasters and inclement weather.