Old Saybrook Residents Receive False Terror Warning

Police have launched an internal investigation after a dispatcher reportedly sent out an emergency message by accident.

By Jamie Ratliff
|  Monday, Aug 19, 2013  |  Updated 7:24 PM CDT
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The Old Saybrook police chief says the department is performing a review after a dispatcher erroneously sent out a terror alert over the town's public address system.

The Old Saybrook police chief says the department is performing a review after a dispatcher erroneously sent out a terror alert over the town's public address system.

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Residents of Old Saybrook received quite a shock after hearing the area was under a terrorist attack over the Connecticut town's public address system on Sunday afternoon.

The Office of Emergency Management said a dispatcher accidentally made a series of errors, which caused the message to play over speakers placed around town. The message also warned residents to seek shelter.

"It's concerning that there was somebody making that sort of mistake," said Old Saybrook resident David Olsen.

Olsen was home at the time of the broadcast, but said he couldn't make out any of the words.

"I said, 'That's odd,' and I heard it again maybe 30 seconds or a minute later. I came to the door, opened up the door and didn't hear anything at all," said Olsen.

Reverse 911 calls were made through the Everbridge Emergency Notification System apologizing for the error and saying in part, "There is no emergency, and there is no homeland security crisis in or near the Town of Old Saybrook."

Old Saybrook Police said in a statement Monday afternoon:

"The Town of Old Saybrook takes emergency preparedness and communication with the public during times of crisis very seriously.   We have years of success using mass alerting systems to properly inform the public during emergencies and will continue that practice.   Yesterday’s incident was an extremely unfortunate and localized event."

The Office of Emergency Management said it takes the matter very seriously and have begun an internal investigation into the dispatcher's actions.

The Old Saybrook police chief is also available to answer questions from 3 to 3:30 this afternoon at the Department of Police Services, 6 Custom Drive in Old Saybrook.

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