When law enforcement officers hope to recover a missing child, there are different tools at their disposal. Besides an Amber Alert, they can share the details of a case to a national program called "A Child Is Missing."
"So, any time a local agency has some type of abduction or child that's missing, there's some specific criteria that must be met, and so once that criteria is met, they would get ahold of the State," Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said.
Details like descriptions of the missing people and any vehicles used are key. Those details are released via a text or email to anyone subscribed to the service, just like an Amber Alert. It can also be used to share information about other people who have gone missing, including those with memory issues.
"The mobile world we live in, it's pretty easy for somebody to get in a car and drive away, and to have that ability to be able to get that information out and really, you're just trying to get more eyes and ears out there," Clemens said.
The more people helping in cases like this, the better, and it also helps that officers aren't afraid to use the system at a moment's notice.
"They're going to recognize that there's something serious, that if you've got a child missing or you've got somebody with Alzeimers that's missing, they're going to be getting all the information they can and it's going to happen real fast," Clemens said.
The Sioux Falls Police Department hasn't had to use the "A Child Is Missing" program yet, but Clemens says the department is thankful that it exists just in case.
"That's exactly it, it's a safety net to have. You hope you don't have to use it, but it's nice to know if you do have to use it, that you got all the law enforcement in the State and the public would get that same message and be able to help you out and try to find the missing child," Clemens said.
The website lists all of the current cases as well as the successful recoveries. If you would like to learn more about this program and sign up for alerts, just visit the "A Child Is Missing" website. We also have links for signing up for Amber Alerts.