Sunday, January 9, 2011

NY police program robo-calls people with disabilities to check on them

From The Observer-Dispatch:

ROME, N.Y. — A new program offered by the Rome Police Department caters to city residents who need or want to be checked on daily.

The “R.U.O.K.” program uses a computerized telephone calling system to call each enrolled participant at the same time each day, a news release stated. The pre-recorded message? “Good morning. Are you OK?”

If a person fails to answer, or if there’s a busy signal, the system tries back a few minutes later. If multiple tries are unsuccessful, a police officer is automatically dispatched to check on the subscriber, the release stated.

The calls also can be suspended while people are out of town on vacation.

The Police Department is encouraging seniors, people with disabilities, shut-ins and those who live alone to use the free service in addition to commercial services such as Lifeline, the release stated.

All “R.O.U.K.” calls are placed during the subscribers preferred hour between 7 and 11 a.m. and will be made at the same time each day.