Horry County admits CodeRed alert mistake

Published: Nov. 12, 2014 at 10:44 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2014 at 11:27 PM EST
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CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County officials admit the right procedures were not followed after a CodeRed text alerted the entire county that murder suspects were on the loose.


at about 9:30 p.m.

The alert left out key details, including where the suspects were hiding.

"Evidently, some of the procedures were not followed last night," Lisa Bourcier said.

The first alert issued warned of a murder suspect on the loose in Horry County and urged residents to call 911 if anything suspicious was noticed, but the text ended there. 

"It was too vague. [The county] didn't tell you the details in the first text they sent out," Larry White said.

White got the text message and took it upon himself to call the Horry County Police Department dispatch to find out what was going on.

Horry County's Public Director, Lisa Bourcier says the person who sent it out, a member of the Horry County Police Department's dispatch, did pinpoint an area originally. 

"....but it was not saved in the system appropriately, so everybody, I believe, within the CodeRed system in Horry County, received the emails and the text messages that were even outside of the 2-mile radius," Bourcier explained.

Many people might have related these alerts with weather warnings, but when White saw it was from the Director of Emergency Management, he said he got the feeling it was something much bigger.

"When you actually get the text message and email from Randy Webster, you know it's something serious," White said.

As it turns out, Bourcier says, that wasn't supposed to happen either and Webster's name and email should have been removed.

"When [officials] send out the CodeRed, they actually change [the name] to put their email address for further notifications. Again, that was one procedure that didn't happen," Bourcier added.

About 110,000 people got the message that left out the specific location, the agency, and had the wrong person's name.

"Horry County is a huge county, from one end to the other" White explained.

Bourcier explained what should have taken place during the manhunt Tuesday night:  

"Usually [administrators] will identify this is a code red emergency notification message. Then, state the agency, regarding what the issue is and what the area of concern is," Bourcier said.

Bourcier said the last message to inform people the suspects were caught was delivered accurately.

The right procedures are in place and the county make sure everyone is up to date and re-trained to ensure the error does not happen again, Bourcier said.

To learn more about CodeRed alerts and register for the notifications, click here.