Keeping CodeRED a secret: two months and counting

codered-sshotThere’s an article in Wednesday’s Nfld News titled Police upgrade emergency message system and an editorial today titled CodeRED should add weather alerts.

But a search of the City’s web site for the word ‘CodeRed’ brings up “Sorry, no data matching the query "codered " were found.”

It gets worse.

The City of Northfield’s Emergency Information page makes no mention of it.

A Google search of the City of Northfield’s website for the two-word phrase “code red” only shows an 8/14/2009 disbursement to the Steele County Treasurer for $3000.

A Google search of the city’s site on the word ‘CodeRED’ only finds the logo on the Police Dept. web page. No explanatory text, just a logo, linked to the service.

A search for ‘CodeRED’ on the KYMN site comes up empty.

Steele County has an Oct. 1 press release on CodeRED indicating that the publicity blitz for this new service began two months ago.

A search of the City of Lonsdale’s website brings up an 8-page Code Red Public Relations Plan (PDF) that was implemented in early October. They also have a CodeRED flyer with a helpful FAQ (PDF).

Why is Northfield so bad at getting the word out?


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    Rice County has nothing about CodeRED on its website. Nor does the City of Faribault.

    The City of Owatonna has the CodeRED logo and a brief explanation on its homepage but nothing substantive.

    The City of Lonsdale comes the closest to getting it right, ie, CodeRED logo on its home page that links to the police department page where there are links to the flyer and the public relations plan (PDFs). They should have a 3rd link there: to the CodeRED registration page.

    December 12, 2009
  2. kiffi summa said:

    Surprise, Surprise! I’m going to defend the City Staff!

    Seriously, Griff, the staff is cut to some pretty bare bones. You’d not necessarily think so if you look at the full employee list, plus the full board and commission list… there’s a tremendous number of people who are involved with the city government process… BUT… it is true that many jobs have been cut by attrition in the last couple years.

    Also, the council /staff do not make the use of the boards and commissions that they say they would like to… and maybe that’s because someone would have to take time from their regular workload to do so… but the PR on CodeRed seems like a perfect task for a short term Task Force structure.

    “They” have hired a local consultant to do PR on the Safety Center, as well as create PR tools for the EDA; maybe the CodeRed awareness could have benefitted from that attention.

    In fairness, this HAS been a difficult year for a mostly new council, and a new mayor… lots of big and somewhat contentious issues, lots of money problems…

    December 13, 2009
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    Kiffi, I appreciate your defense of City Hall. I hope to see something similar soon about the Northfield News. 😉

    December 13, 2009
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    I contacted Rice Cty Sheriff Ricahard Cook for a comment about CodeRED, making my case that the PR on  it has become confusing. He emailed me this:

    I was surprised to see the news release in the “News”.  It has become confusing.  I thought we were going to coordinate a countywide release with Northfield and Faribault.  Lonsdale, Morristown, Dundas and Nerstrand are part of the county portion.

    What you see on the Lonsdale web site, which probably should not have been posted, is our internal media release plan but people can still go and sign up through the link.  Nobody has been keeping it a secret it just ended up on the back burner. There have been details to work out.  We were hoping to coordinate the news release with the countywide test to minimize confusion. 

    Even though the system is technically ready our campaign to add additional contact information is not.  It’s not just a matter of pushing a button and it works.  We need to methodically build our data bases, internally and externally, develop protocols and expertise on the system to fully implement.

    We will have a comprehensive news release in the near future in the county newsletter, media outlets and our web site.  After the first of the year the system will be tested countywide with additional instructions to residents.  When our press release and links have been completed I would be happy to provide you with a copy of that comprehensive information.

    As for the severe weather warning issue.  There are already systems in place for this purpose.  Sirens and Emergency Alert System.

    December 13, 2009
  5. kiffi summa said:

    Griff… Do NOT hold your breath; IMO would require a total philosophical re-organization back to Journalism 101…

    December 13, 2009
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    The City put up more CodeRED info on their website on Monday.

    The Police Dept. page now has an explanation.

    as does the Emergency info page:

    It’s featured in the News and Announcements on the home page:

    which links to a pre-dated announcement of Jan. 31, 2010:

    and repeated at:

    December 17, 2009

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