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Mid-Ohio Stranger Abduction Alert Program: Working to Protect Children

NCJ Number
Sheriff Volume: 54 Issue: 5 Dated: September-October 2002 Pages: 38,40
Mike Rankin
Date Published
September 2002
2 pages
This article addresses the work of the Mid-Ohio Stranger Abduction Alert (SAA) network, designed to notify the media and law enforcement agencies of child abduction alerts.
Discussing the importance of law enforcement agencies to quickly mobilize resources at the time of child abduction, this article focuses on the work of the Mid-Ohio Stranger Abduction Alert (SAA) network. Designed to reduce delays in disseminating information at the time of a child abduction, the SAA network immediately releases perpetrator and vehicle descriptions to participating news media and law enforcement agencies, and the news media broadcasts the information every hour upon receipt of the alert. The SAA network also advises the media as soon as any recovery is made. A voluntary protocol checklist and referral forms, detailing the procedures for initiating a SAA, is followed by participating agencies. These participating agencies also receive training on the SAA protocol, on stranger abductions, and on ways to effectively work with the news media. Based on a similar program begun in the Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas area, the SAA-type program is not designed to handle situations involving runways, children missing more than 48 hours before being reported missing, or child custody takings. Arguing that the implementation of a SAA-type program is a challenge, the author maintains that no law enforcement agency can justify not having a plan in place for dealing with child abductions.