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Reverse 9-1-1 system had problems while shooter on the loose

City officials are trying to figure out why the reverse 9-1-1 system did not work correctly in Southwest Portland on Wednesday morning.

The system — officially known as the Community Emergency Notification System — activated to alert residents near Multnomah Village of a gunman on the loose. The Portland Police Bureau requested the alert after the suspect shot on officer around 2:50 a.m.

Instead of receiving an alert for that situation, however, residents received pre-recorded calls saying they were the weekly test of the system.

The correct alert, which asked residents to remain in their homes and report suspicious behavior, did not go out until several hours later. The suspect was captured around then.

"We are trying to figure out what happened. We are very concerned that the system didn't work properly," says Dan Douhit, public information officer for the Bureau of Emergency Management, which contracts for the system with a private company called First Call.

Douhit says the contract expires this fall and bureau officials will decide whether to try to renew it or advertise for a different vendor once they have figured out what went wrong.

According to Douhit, the system did not work correctly during a citywide test several years ago, but has worked well during a number of smaller real-life emergencies.