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Vernon County Officials develop code system to assist local businesses

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When a situation arises and assistance is needed, calling 9-1-1 is the best option. But sometimes, that number can lead to more problems.
Which is why businesses in Nevada asked officials to develop a system that makes asking for help more discrete.

Local businesses in Vernon County have cracked the code of alerting police for help in a dangerous situation.

"The dispatchers are trained to know when they hear this phrase to ask questions, preferably yes or no questions...things that are going to help us determine what type of response they need and what type of situation we may have." says Tonia Davis, Executive Director of the Western Missouri 9-1-1 Dispatch Center.

The Nevada police department along with Western Missouri 9-1-1 Dispatch Center teamed up to ease concerns from local businesses on how to communicate with police...but in a not so obvious way.

"When we have code words, It's trying to get out what's going on, without saying it." says Nevada Police Officer, Patrick Daeo.

The code system was developed so that businesses can alert police of a situation discreetly in a more conversational way.

Businesses in Nevada that have had to call for help for a situation before say that this code system will not only make it easier to catch a criminal, but also keep employees calm during a situation.

"We've had those incidents where it would have been helpful to have those codes when the phone is right in the store, and without leaving the phone and going to the back where the phone is" says business owner, Marvin Davison.

Marvin Davison of Davison shoes and Verco Sporting Goods has seen his share of crime within the 56 years he's been in business...and says with new employees, it's something they can pick up on.

"I think it would be very helpful especially newer employees in the business when they feel nervous about some incident that happened within the business." Davison says.

But this code still doesn't replace the traditional 9-1-1 call.

"We still encourage people to pick up the phone and just ask for help. It's quicker, it's easier to just say "come help us."" Officer Daeo explains.

The code system has been operating for about a month now with the businesses in Vernon County.
So far officials say they have not had to respond to any situations.

The Nevada Police and Vernon County encourage everyone to use the open communication policy, and dial 9-1-1 if you need help.

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