Author Topic: Bad Timing  (Read 47 times)

Lake Titicaca

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Bad Timing
« on: January 18, 2007, 10:00:08 AM »
CARLSBAD – Residents who live along the Carlsbad Marathon route probably appreciated a phone call telling them the race would be run near their house, and nearby roads would be closed.

But not at midnight.

In a case of good intentions gone awry, the Police Department arranged to have a computer call all 36,211 homes and businesses along the marathon route about the Sunday event – as a courtesy.

The department contracted with American Emergency Notification, which specializes in “reverse-911” calls that alert people in the event of an emergency.

Carlsbad Police Lt. Don Rawson said police were told the company's computer would need an hour to make the phone calls, beginning at 5:45 p.m. yesterday.

The time-conscious computer needed to know when to stop making the calls, so an arbitrary time of 11:45 p.m. was entered into the program, Rawson said.

“The computer took the end time as the start time,” he said, and began making calling about midnight yesterday.

It didn't stop until after 2 a.m., efficiently calling all 36,211 homes and businesses along the route, which extends in a loop from Westfield Plaza El Camino Real, west to the beach and south to the city limits, then up Palomar Airport Road and back to the mall.

That's about one-third of the city of Carlsbad.

The Police Department's own phones began ringing shortly after midnight from people griping about being called at such an absurd hour. Rawson said the department had gotten 300 complaints by yesterday afternoon.

He said the company is trying to figure out why the computer went haywire.

Carlsbad used a similar alert system last year through a different company, Rawson said, and “we had nothing but glowing accolades.”

This year, after thousands of midnight calls, “I think we've used up every good marker we have,” Rawson said.


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Re: Bad Timing
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2007, 10:02:57 AM »