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MPD initiates child alert program

By By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
Aug. 29, 2002
The Meridian Police Department is implementing its own scaled-down emergency system based on the national AMBER plan.
Detective Deano Harper said the system was put together in response to recent national attention on missing and abducted children. In case of a missing child, a bulletin similar to a severe weather alert will be broadcast.
Harper said the suspect was quickly apprehended and the police officials realized the effectiveness of using this method. He said the system will not be used exclusively for missing children. It is meant as a major crime alert and may even be used for street closings.
How the system works
Harper said if a child goes missing, an alert will be issued to all media outlets in the Meridian area. The child's age, race, sex, what the child was wearing, where the child was last seen, suspect and suspect vehicle information or anything that can help find the child will part of the alert.
Harper said he cannot remember any noncustodial abductions in Lauderdale County but doesn't want anybody to get the idea to be the first.
The Meridian Police Department will work with Lauderdale County, Marion, Clarke County or any other agency that needs assistance.
Cooperative effort
Maj. Ward Calhoun said the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department implemented a cooperative program with the county's 22 volunteer fire departments in 1998.
Calhoun said firefighters are given pertinent information on armed robberies, burglaries, etc., and that they act strictly as eyes an ears.
Calhoun said the program is successful and has resulted in a number of captures.