Police Prepare

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

Police say they are very confident in what they have when it comes to missing children cases. Even though the process is very involved, it only takes minutes to get an alert across the country.

Let's say your child is missing from a local park. You make a call and it's received at the dispatch center at the police department.

"When they're calling, I understand they may be stressed. They may be hysterical that it's their child missing, but the main thing is to stay calm," said Sgt. Joe Palaskey.

The telecommunicator then asks you the questions: Where did it happen? What were the circumstances? Give us a detailed description.

"Once the officer is notified and responds to the scene, he'll contact the victim's guardian, try to see if there's any more information they can obtain from the reporting person that they did not tell the communications officer," added Palaskey.

Now, police assess the situation. Depending how the child was lost, FleetWatch could be alerted. It's a radio system throughout the area in cabs, buses and other vehicles.

"The dispatch center will receive this information from the police department, update the drivers and workers in the field and they will be able to call the police immediately," said Palaskey.

Local media, V-DOT and other resources are brought into the picture and a national alert is sent. Even without a more streamlined system like Amber Alert, this process happens in minutes. But that's not keeping the department from looking into all its options.

"We're looking at any way we can become more proficient and streamlined in order to communicate better and find the children as fast as possible," said Palaskey.

He adds that there are three things to remember if your child turns up missing: Stay calm. Call immediately. They will use every resource possible.


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