Residents of East Nashville knew something was up Thursday night around 9 p.m. The Metro Police helicopter had been circling above the neighborhood for about an hour. Police officers drove up and down the streets and alleys, using spotlights to illuminate the night.
Finally, a message was posted to a neighborhood e-mail list just after 9:30 p.m. with a report that police officers were looking for a missing boy.
In addition to the helicopter and officers on the street, Metro Police had another tool at their disposal: the Neighborhood Notifier, a telephone notification system designed to alert residents about emergency situations.
But a glitch in the system made for an uneasy night for several neighbors who were unable to get information from the recorded message.
The first phone calls from the notification system went out around 9:30 p.m. Residents who received the automated calls were instructed to call a phone number for more information.
But when residents called the number, most were asked to enter a PIN (personal identification number) to access the information. Trouble was, none of the neighbors knew anything about the PIN.
The young boy was found shortly after 9:30 p.m. but the alert calls didn