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New missing child alert program calls on the public's participation

By CAROLINE GABLE

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Starting Tuesday, Oneida County will begin participating in a new emergency service called the "A Child is Missing Alert Program." The search and rescue effort for future missing children will now span a much larger area, thanks to technology.

The alert program has been credited with than 850 assisted recoveries nationwide. One of the keys to recovering a missing child, or a missing elderly person is fast action - getting the word out so police officers and the public can assist in the search. The well-known Amber Alert will remain in place, but the "A Child Is Missing Alert Program" initiates a rapid process of information gathering and the use of a sophisticated mapping system.

Here is how it works:

When the Oneida County Sheriff's Department gets a local missing persons call, they make their first call to the national "A Child is Missing" headquarters in Florida. Then, headquarters launches potentially thousands of calls within minutes. The message in the call includes the missing child's description, last known whereabouts and anything that may lead to their recovery.

This system has the ability to place 1,000 alert phone calls in just one minute to local businesses and residents who participate in the alert program. The service is also free to Oneida County.

For the service to be even more effective, the Oneida County Sheriff's Department needs your participation. You can enter your cell phone number into the database to get an alert if a child or elderly person is missing in the area.

To get started with the quick and easy process of adding your cell phone number to the database, just click on the link: www.achildismissing.org

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