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TRUMBULL COUNTY Officials to discuss plans to find kids



Published: Thu, September 19, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



County officials want to make sure if a child is missing they will be able to do whatever is necessary to find the youngster quickly.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Law enforcement officials, children's advocates and prosecutors want to develop a local plan to protect children.

Miriam Fife, a victims-witness advocate with the county prosecutor's office, said officials would brainstorm ideas at a meeting today.

Fife said that because of recent abductions nationwide, county officials want to make sure that if a child is missing here, officials can do whatever is necessary to find the youngster as quickly as possible.

"We want to discuss the Amber Alert System and other things we can do," Fife said. "The Amber Alert System is good, since it has the road signs on the freeway, but we are not like the big cities.

"Most of the people here are on side roads. We need to find a way to get the information on the radio and television as soon as possible."

County officials said they will be discussing several different ideas, including one proposed by State Sen. Kevin Coughlin, a Cuyahoga Falls Republican.

Senate bill

Coughlin is sponsoring a bill aimed at establishing a statewide alert system, similar to the Amber Alert System used in California and Texas.

Senate Bill 290 requires the Department of Public Safety to adopt the rules and regulations to implement such a program by Jan. 1.

According to Coughlin, alerts on an abduction would be sent out through television and radio, similar to dangerous-weather alerts, as well as through pagers, cell phones and other forms of communication.

Fife said officials will also be discussing ways parents can talk to their small children about abductions without scaring them.

"There are some programs out that explain the issue to kids in such a way that they are not too frightened," Fife said.

Fife added that Howland Police Chief Steve Lamantia will also talk about the National Child Identification Program.

The kit is an inkless fingerprint identification kit that allows parents to take their child's fingerprints in their own homes.

Lamantia said he has distributed about 250 kits.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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