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Dallas City Council Approves $100,000 To Boost Security Of City's Emergency Sirens


The Dallas City Council on Wednesday approved up to $100,000 to increase security for the city’s emergency alarms system, which was triggered last weekend by someone from the Dallas area, according to officials.

All 156 sirens, usually heard only during weather emergencies, sounded off repeatedly for an hour and a half Friday night into Saturday morning.

City officials say the warning system was hacked — not using a computer but rather broadcast signals. After discussing the problem in an emergency meeting Wednesday, council members approved up to another $100,000 to West Shore Services for immediate security enhancements.

Mayor Mike Rawlings and most of the council, including Philip Kingston, liked the move.

“We can’t discuss technical details with the public because of security concerns,” Kingston says, “but from my perspective, the staff’s approach to this was generally good and their proposal is something I have confidence will ensure that the siren system is secure in the future.”

It’s not immediately clear where the extra money will come. There are a few options, according to Rocky Vaz, the city’s director of Emergency Management.

“If it’s going to be way under $100,000,” Vaz said, “there might be some [money] within our siren maintenance budget that we might be able to [use]. If not we have to have a conversation with our budget office to make some funding available. Also, we have the opportunity to look for grant funding.”

For now at least, Vaz says siren security’s been enhanced and the system works.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.