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Amber Alert protocols in OKC : Things caring adults should know

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Child listed as missing early January 01, 2013.

Amber Alert is a protocol begun across the United States to alert the probably abduction of a child under the age of 17 , by a family member or otherwise. Here is the Amber Alert official US page. "The following guidance is designed to achieve a uniform, inter-operable ( a web between involved agencies, communications networks and the public) network of plans across the country, and to minimize potentially deadly delays because of confusion among varying jurisdictions." is primary excerpted information from this site.

Today, a young female was listed as abducted in Oklahoma City. The Amber Alert was posted across local airwaves, one of which was The University of Oklahoma public radio, @KGOU.

The announcement is preceded by an electronic noise like that for official emergency announcements, a buzzer of sorts. Then, a person announced the data regarding the alert.

Information this morning shared at around 7am was brief, somewhat sketchy and noted the girl had been taken at 2300 hours the prior day.

Local television @KOCO noted agreement on the question of the delayed information and the release was light on data.

There is no specific protocol of time in the definition of the Amber Alert for release of information after an incident has been identified, though time is noted as of the essence. The Amber Alert was listed by the Oklahoma City Police Department, but their Twitter page last entry was December 20th, regarding driving conditions. @OKCPD

This is the Amber Alert site, which lists the Oklahoma Highway Patrol as the state of Oklahoma representative for alerts.

This morning, around 11am it was noted that this child, a 3 year old female from far NW Oklahoma City, had been left alone in a running vehicle the night before.

Someone had then stolen the vehicle, and may or may not have known the child was inside.

Child found and report cancelled. By 11 am, the woman who thefted the vehicle, 35 year old Aimee Dawn Webb, presented to a house in the 2700 Block of North Virginia ( which is the area near Oklahoma City University) to the home of someone she knew., who called the police for aid.

Webb was taken into police custody, the child turned to the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS). There was no information as to whether the OKDHS had any jurisdiction or prior control of the child, or if the person whose care she was in was her Mother's. There was no official mention of the reason the Mother and child were separated at the point of the vehicle being stolen. Photos appearing later in the day, showed what appeared to be Bailey's Mother and Webb as knowing one another socially prior to the incident.

Today's Amber Alert did not present with any electronic links of pre-stated announcement. There was no photograph of the child, and it was unclear if the woman who thefted the vehicle either knew the child, or knew the child was in the car, until after the child was found. This is what the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Page said when the child was picked up.

SafeCom is the program from the Department of Homeland Security which ensures standards of police communications.

Here is a handbook of same.

And here is an updated newsletter that covers even Indian Country Amber Alerts ( that would be OKC)

Rumor has it that a remote Oklahoma town has state of the art electronics communications systems and computers, which allow the best recording of information, best programs for organizing information, best dispensation of information and therefore best response to police related matters because of this. This group ( which doesn't surface in an internet search for same) made use of federal matching grants, and has the dollars they need to outfit and operate their police information systems on all fronts.

It is concerning that the OKCPD does not have sufficient funds and staff to work with on a daily basis. For such a fractured media report about an urgent issue to be so fragmented, and so limited in distribution is concerning and somewhat puzzling and then seemingly as much as 7 hours after the incident limits response from the community.

The failure to have a whole report, the failure to use Twitter or other social media to get the fastest response possible from locals, interested parties or even visitors to OKC is dumbfounding, given The Mayor of Oklahoma City, Mick Cornett @MickCornett is a seasoned media professional. This professional trait as an asset to public services is chronically missing across all Oklahoma City emergency communications.

The OKCPD Twitter account had last entry on December 20th for driving conditions. There had been 2 holidays ( high risk events?) since then and then this missing girl. @OKCPD has 10,000+ subscribers, who are either very caring about the PD or who assume that risks, announcements and needs will be posted on the site. Not so. Not sure who operates the OKCPD acct, but as the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is over Amber alerts that is a split the public may not recognize.

Duplicate dispensation of information is surely what solves gaps in service and prevents multi-hour gaffs.

Surely it is true that the Department of Homeland Security, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, OKCPD and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett's office are all separate entities, but this case, (though it ended well) there seems a direct split on the instructions of how an Amber Alert should function and what did not. "The following guidance is designed to achieve a uniform, inter-operable network of plans across the country, and to minimize potentially deadly delays because of confusion among varying jurisdictions." OKC got THIS service on THIS Amber Alert for New Year's Eve missing little OKC Bailey Jo Shreeves?

Professional services must have sufficient funds and staff to function properly. OKCPD and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, on a daily basis do not. They are not paid at a reasonable rate for their professional service, they have in some cases gotten no raises and no additional staff, and no increase in money that relates to the growth in the City of Oklahoma City over the last 10 years.

In medical services, failed processes are audited to discover where the glitches are, and what might perfect the service and avoid any gaffs which may cause unnecessary suffering, injury or death. That could happen with the Amber Alert process?

Public concerns about this can be directed to the Oklahoma City Council or other related departments.

Caregivers of children need to be prepared to identify their child pretty much at any time. Children are taken at all hours, with females taken almost 80% more often than males.

Oklahoma City already has a problem with abducted older adolescent females and human trafficking. 4 of these 7 missing females are known to be dead

Identakid . is a common program offered in schools in Oklahoma that provides a photo id card for the child, and fingerprint cards to be stored. is program recommended by the Amber Alert site, which suggests ways to talk in a family about risks of abuction and how to respond or prevent.

This is a program that can be hosted in a community to address Amber Alerts.

Having access to recent photographs of children, clear descriptions of what they are wearing at the time they are missing and any identifying information helps law enforcement understand who they are looking for and increases the chances of quick identification if possible.

Having a copy of the child's dental records seems ominous, but dental records have more information than one might think. as they can be used to determine child abuse issues, but also to prevent identity swaps, and to prevent child thefting. Most people think of dental records as a final step to identify the unidentifiable. Think again. Children should begin dental examinations at age 2, unless recommended earlier by a physician. Discuss with your family dentist where and how to get records if need be.

Cooperative preparedness is important.

Also understanding what may constitute a Child Protective Services Report could be valuable to caregivers:

Leaving a child without supervision is against the law.

Leaving a child alone in a car, locked or unlocked may be against the law.

Leaving a child outdoors in freezing weather would be a question., heater or no heater.

Having a child out at 11 on any night may be a question.

Leaving a child in harms way is a question.

Being intoxicated on any substance while driving a car with or without a child in it would be a question.

Being unable to provide information to police, due to intoxication when the caregiver of a child whether a holiday or not.

Having state of the art law enforcement OKCPD is surely an issue that will be on the list of considerations when the public pulls up for the vote for Oklahoma City Mayoral Race 2014, when incumbent Mick Cornett and Ward 2 Councilor, Dr. Ed Shadid face off in March 2014.



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