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Child is Missing Alert used for first time Tuesday in LO

A new system, known as a Child Is Missing Alert, was launched Tuesday night in Lake Oswego.

Around 9:30 p.m., about 1,600 telephone calls were placed by the Lake Oswego Police Department in an effort to locate a missing high school student.

The student was found a short time later and returned home.

Lake Oswego Police Capt. Michael Hammons said it was 'good, routine police work' that helped find the teenager, but the Child is Missing Alert will still be valuable in future cases.

A Child Is Missing Alert is a tool used by the Lake Oswego Police Department. Tuesday night was the first time local police used the system.

When police receive a report that a child under the age of 18, an elderly person or anyone who is physically or mentally challenged and may be in danger is missing, local police can call in A Child Is Missing from the field.

Within minutes, a recorded phone message is sent to all listed telephones in the area specified by police.

The notification alerts citizens that local police are searching for a missing person and provides identifying information. It asks that everyone take notice and look around, look out the windows or step outside.

The notification provides a phone number for people to call if they have helpful information.

People who are unlisted or who use a cell phone instead of a land line will not be automatically called. But they can go to a Web site (listed below) to sign up for the alerts. People who are on the do-not-call list would still be called, because the calls are not considered solicitations, Hammons said.

The best number to call if a person is missing is the Lake Oswego police non-emergency number 503-635-0238.

A Child Is Missing Alert is the brainchild of Sherry Friedlander of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and is funded by grants and donations.

'The organization provides an invaluable service to law enforcement nationwide for free,' said Hammons. 'With its high-tech telephoning, A Child Is Missing can place up to 1,000 phone calls in 60 seconds. It can continue to call and expand the calling search as necessary.'

He said the service is not an Amber Alert, does not detract from the use or power of the Amber Alert and can be and often is used in conjunction with the Amber Alert process.

'Many police agencies in Oregon and across the nation are taking advantage of this service and many people are home safe as a result,' said Hammons.

Additional information about A Child is Missing can be found at its Web site, www.achildismissing.org .