HPD aims to involve citizens in finding missing persons

The Hillsboro Police Department has a new method of drawing the community together to help officials find missing persons.

Police Chief Dan Kinning said Monday that his office formalized an agreement with the ?A Child Missing Alert Program.?

According to Kinning, this free service will involve Hillsboro citizens interested in assisting police locate missing children, elderly people, college students or someone who may be mentally or physically challenged or disabled.

Anyone who has a landline telephone or who gives permission to contact their cellular phone can participate.

When police receive word of a missing person, the first call they will make is to the national headquarters of the ?A Child Missing Alert Program? in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The call, Kinning said, is answered 24 hours a day and 365 days a year by an information and mapping technician who then initiates a rapid process of information gathering and use of sophisticated mapping systems.

The main headquarters then launches potentially thousands of calls within minutes through an alert messaging.

?The call will detail the missing person?s description, last known whereabouts and other pertinent information,? Kinning said.

The message will also include the Hillsboro Police Department?s telephone number for use by anyone in town with information related to the missing individual.

?We will evaluate each potential activation of the alert program to ensure the application is appropriate to the case and to ensure the system is optimally used,? he said.

Anyone interested in being included in this program is asked to enter their cell phone number, unlisted telephone number or TDD/TTY device at www.achildismissing.org and click on ?add your name? to enter name, number and address.

?This information would only be used for emergency message alerts,? Kinning said.

The missing alert program is a nationwide non-profit organization to help law enforcement agencies locate all types of missing people.

Oftentimes, elderly people with Alzheimer?s can become disoriented, Kinning said, and this will be a way to help our own residents.

The program can alert 1,000 phone calls in one minute to area residents and businesses.

A spokesperson with the service said that to date, more than 700 safe assisted recoveries have been made.