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TRUMBULL COUNTY Abduction alert system sought anew



Published: Sat, August 17, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The county 911 director has said his agency has a system to alert the public of kidnapping cases.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

LIBERTY -- Shirley Olson isn't one to say "I told you so," but she's doing just that to officials who last year ignored her attempts to institute Amber Alert in Trumbull County.

Amber Alert is a system used when a child is abducted. Police notify radio and television stations quickly with a description of the child and other information, such as a description of the getaway car.

In the past few weeks, Amber Alert has been credited with helping to recover the victims of several high-profile abductions.

Amber Alert is named after Amber Hagerman, 9, who was abducted in 1996 in Arlington, Texas, and found dead four days later.

Previous effort

The proposal to institute the Amber system in Trumbull County was proposed by Olson, the records secretary at the Liberty Police Department.

The discussion was dropped after two meetings with county commissioners.

Olson said she has contacted Commissioner James Tsagaris to rekindle interest in the system.

"I was in favor of it," Tsagaris said Friday of Olson's attempt last year.

"I don't know why we can't put it on 911," he said. "It works terrific. I guess everybody doesn't want to make any changes.

"I think we should sit down and discuss it."

Tim Gladis, county 911 director, has said his agency has a system to alert the public in such cases.

Gladis explained that once information is received by a police agency, a network of 300 police and fire departments, schools and radio and TV stations within a 100-mile radius receive the information.

Gladis said those agencies can use the Internet information, including a photograph of the missing person, to make posters and fliers.

"I want to hear it tested," Olson said. "If 911 is better, why is Amber Alert being pushed by the Center for Missing and Exploited Children?"

Olson said it would take about a year to get cooperation between the media and police agencies to create the system.

yovich@vindy.com




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