Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Arcadia Police Go High Tech to Search for Missing Children

Arcadia, CA — Arcadia Interim Police Chief Bob Guthrie has formalized an agreement with the A Child Is Missing Alert Program (ACIM) that has led to a high tech method now in place to search locally for missing children, missing elderly, and missing persons who may be mentally or physically challenged or disabled.

Effective immediately, upon receipt of most missing person calls, the Arcadia Police Department will make a phone call to a toll-free number that rings in Fort Lauderdale, Florida—the national headquarters of the A Child Is Missing Alert Program, a nationwide non-profit organization. The call, answered 24/7/365 by an Information and Mapping Technician, initiates a rapid process of information gathering and use of sophisticated mapping systems. A Child Is Missing then launches potentially thousands of calls within minutes with an alert message detailing the missing person’s description, last known whereabouts, and pertinent information. The alert calls go out to residence and business phone numbers within a specified geographic area. The message will also include an Arcadia Police Department phone number for use by anyone with information relating to the missing person. To date, the efforts of A Child Is Missing have been credited with more than 850 safe assisted recoveries.

This program is a free service to law enforcement. Arcadia Police Department officials will evaluate each potential activation of the A Child Is Missing Alert Program to ensure the application is appropriate to the case and to ensure the system is optimally used. Policies, procedures, and employee training will also guide the most efficient and effective use of this Alert Program.

Phone numbers that are called by this program include listed numbers and mobile numbers available to ACIM in the selected area. Mobile numbers, unlisted numbers, broadband/voice-over IP numbers, or TDD/TTY devices can be added to ensure they, too, are called in the event of an alert. To enter your cell phone, unlisted, broadband/voice-over IP or TDD/TTY device number visit http://www.achildismissing.org/ and click on “add your name” to enter your name, number, and address. This information will only be used for emergency message alerts.

The City of Arcadia is home to many elderly residents, including a half-dozen specialized locations for retirement or assisted living. In addition to enhancing our abilities on missing children cases, the ACIM program also includes at risk elderly. In the last five years, Arcadia Police Officers have responded on about 400 calls for service related to missing persons, including both adult and children. The vast majority of these calls are resolved rather quickly, but it is our expectation that with the addition of the ACIM services, in combination with other departmental resources, our ability to resolve additional missing person cases in a timely and safe manner will increase.

Robert Guthrie, Chief of Police

By: Tom Le Veque

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