Old Saybrook Apologizes For False Alert

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OLD SAYBROOK — Police are conducting an internal review after a dispatcher triggered an announcement alerting residents to an act of terrorism when there was no such emergency.

The incident happened Sunday, police said. The dispatcher, who was not named, “made a series of errors that caused a localized public address system to announce a prerecorded emergency message,” a police press release states. The alert was in the form of a voice that came over loud speakers.

Once Michael A. Spera, the town’s police chief and director of emergency management, learned about what had happened, he ordered that all town residents to be informed of the error via the Everbridge phoning system, also known as a reverse 911 system.

The Everbridge message advised residents that there was no homeland security crisis in or near Old Saybrook. It also included an apology.

Local and state officials were notified of the error as well.

First Selectman Carl P. Fortuna Jr. said the loudspeakers are placed on poles along Route 1.

“In my opinion, it was clearly a mistake,” Fortuna said. “They took the best corrective measures they could.”

By Christine Dempsey, Hartford Courant

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