Carroll joins program for missing

October 30, 2005|By SHERIDAN LYONS | SHERIDAN LYONS,SUN REPORTER

Police in Carroll County have become the latest in Maryland to take advantage of a program to notify residents when a child, or an older or disabled person, is missing, officials said.

The free service is offered by the nonprofit group A Child Is Missing Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said Maj. Nicholas A. Plazio, chief of the investigative services bureau of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office. Plazio and Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning briefed the county commissioners last week, as well as state and town police officers, college and public school security heads, emergency services, courthouse and other officials.

The first 24 hours are important, and neighbors can be invaluable, Tregoning said. "If something is out of the ordinary, this might be someone who is critically missing," he said.

Residents would call 911, but the responding officer would decide when to trigger the A Child Is Missing alert by calling its 24-hour number, where a recorded message would be prepared that can be delivered to 1,000 telephones a minute in a specified area, according to Plazio.

This program crosses jurisdictions, like the Amber Alert program flashed on overhead interstate signs, but it is not tied to vehicle abductions. It is multilingual and could be used to notify residents about a sexual predator in the neighborhood, Plazio said.

"The No. 1 benefit is, it shortens the time period," said Commissioner Dean. L. Minnich.

Tregoning said that "any incident related to a child's safety would be eligible."

When Baltimore County adopted A Child Is Missing this month, Plazio said he looked into the program, which is used in more than 30 other states since its founding in 1997.

An Oct. 20 confirmation letter to the sheriff from the company's director of national expansion said the program has been set up and is ready for use in Carroll.

sherry.lyons@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.