Software to locate missing children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Time is a crucial element for police officers when it comes to locating a missing child. Within a small window of opportunity, officers have to work quickly to notify the public and other law enforcement agencies about what has occurred.

Through a grant provided by the Department of Justice, the Selma Police Department recently installed a new computer software system that will enable it to send out information and pictures of a missing child faster than before.

The software is known as Lost Child Alert Technology Research (LOCATOR). It uses the speed of the Internet to send missing children bulletins to agencies around the country.

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LOCATOR allows the Selma Police Department to receive information about missing children from other areas as well.

According to Sgt. Joe Little of the Youth Aid Division, the software &uot;rings like a telephone&uot; and the computer screen flashes yellow and red to alert that a child is missing.

The LOCATOR works through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The center utilizes these pictures and information to help local police try to locate the missing children.

The Selma Police Department was also provided with a negative photograph scanner and can even copy images from slides.

Both Hinson and Little predicted the LOCATOR will become a vital tool to the Selma Police Department in the effort to ensure the safety of children.