Public Notification System Helps Police Locate Missing Girl
By Mike Perleberg
(Aurora, Ind.) – Dearborn County’s two-year-old Rapid Notify emergency notification system is credited for helping officers locate a missing five-year-old girl in Aurora Monday.
“You can image how horrified that child was,” says Aurora Chief of Police Josh Daugherty.
According to the police chief, the child’s school bus drops her off at varying locations to meet up with her mother after school each day. The kindergartener got off the bus at her home at an apartment building on the 200 block of Conwell Street. However, she should have gotten off at her aunt’s home on Exporting Street.
When her child didn’t arrive as expected on Exporting Street, the girl’s family notified police at around 3:30 p.m. Aurora PD utilized the Dearborn County Rapid Notify system to alert by phone residents and businesses in the area of the situation.
Daugherty said a number of citizens were quickly outside their homes looking for the youngster.
A neighbor at Conwell Street received the message, according to Daugherty. He called police to tell them that he had a short time earlier seen the girl crying on the front steps of her apartment.
That information allowed police to concentrate their search effort to that section of Conwell Street, where they found the girl being watched in the home of a family friend just after 4:30 p.m. That friend had not received the Rapid Notify message and was unaware of the search, Daugherty said.
“It’s an excellent resource to have available,” Daugherty says of Rapid Notify. “And the response from the community was great.”
Dearborn County introduced Rapid Notify in 2012. Sheriff Mike Kreinhop says the system is commonly used for weather-related notifications to county residents, but it becomes especially useful in the rare occasions of a missing person being sought or to warn citizens of a dangerous person on the loose.
“We’re glad to have it and if it hasn’t earned its keep already it should very soon,” Kreinhop says.
Dearborn County residents and businesses can register their land line or mobile phone for Rapid Notify notifications via phone call or text message at http://dearborncountysheriff.org/Rapidnotify/default.html.