POWAY, Calif. — Poway City Council unanimously decided to activate a new 24-hour tip line in an effort to prevent tragedies like the synagogue shooting and several other shootings just recently like in Uvalde and Buffalo.
“In almost every case, there were behavioral warning signs ahead of time,” Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said.
This citywide tip line would be available for anyone concerned that someone they know may be planning an act of violence or be a danger to themselves.
Vaus said for people in many situations, calling 911 doesn’t feel right, so this new number has been created. That number is 855-56-ALERT.
Callers will be able to anonymously report critical information like if they are worried about someone’s behavior or saw a social media post threatening an act of violence.
“It’s a way that we can maybe get ahead of something prevent something. If we save one life, it’s well worth it,” Poway Councilmember Barry Leonard said.
There were some concerns raised about getting the right resources to someone who is legitimately struggling with mental health, which the sheriff’s department addressed.
Ultimately callers will leave a message at the alert number and it will be immediately forwarded to the Poway sheriff station and vetted from there to see what the best action would be. While it’s only for Poway, Vaus hopes other cities will consider something similar.
“The cost of this six-month pilot program is $190. It costs nothing and it adds an extra layer of security. You can’t beat that,” Vaus said.
The city will test out the “alert” program for six months and then come back to city council with a report and decide if it should be made permanent.