Thursday, October 12, 2006

Amber Alert Abuse

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We laugh up our collective sleeve when we hear reports about 92-year old Grandmas in walkers being held for screenings and pat-downs at airports. Just as ludicrous, the way police handle missing persons cases. We all know about Suzy Lyall and Karen Wilson. Audrey Herron is another local example of people who've gone missing. The latest case is that of UVM student Michelle Gardner-Quinn.

Last night our household was awakened by a recorded telephone call from the local Police Department. A recording regarding a missing kid. We'd seen his photo earlier in the evening on TV, and the first thing everybody did was look at each other with funny faces, because, we knew this was NOT a real missing person. It was a runaway. Turns out we were right. Also turns out that at the time the recording called in, the kid was already back home. Police say the youngster had run away before. Last week. So why wake up the whole neighborhood? Let's wake the peeps up when a person REALLY disappears. When they don't make it home. When loved ones are truly worried because they can't make contact and the KNOW in their hearts something is wrong. NOT when a kid lacking parental control takes off for a few hours!

If a child, especially a teen, runs off (remember now how frustrating teen-age years can be) and there is a REAL safety concern, especially if it's a young girl or a child requiring medication, THAT'S when the cops should get going and get involved. That's understandable. BUT a repeat runaway should be dealt with accordingly. Where were the parents? What's their history? Put the kid in a home or youth shelter where they can keep an eye on him! Don't let this juvenille and others like him dilute the importance of the Amber Alert system!

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