Abduction alert to utilize media
In the wake of the murder last year of 9-year-old Krystal Steadman, Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini is helping organize an abduction alert system that will use emergency broadcast bands on television and radio.
The Krystal Child Abduction Alert Plan is named in memory of Steadman, a fourth-grader who in March was kidnapped while playing outside a Stateline apartment. Her body was found a day later down an embankment alongside U.S. Highway 50 several miles west of Carson City.
Friday, Steadman’s older sister, Sonya Klemper, attended a meeting in Reno where law enforcement announced plans to create “Krystal Alert.”
“It’s actually very overwhelming . . . very moving,” she said. “I’m really excited about it. I think its’ really going to help. I’m really honored they involved me and my family and used Krystal’s name.”
In Nevada, organization of the alert system is being coordinated by Washoe County Sheriff Dennis Balaam.
When the system is up and running, law enforcement in nine counties are expected to feed case information to radio and television stations
“It won’t cost anything,” Pierini said. “It’s basically meant to increase the possibility of apprehension by having more eyes and ears in community. We know we only have a short period of time to find the suspect and victim.”
Pierini emphasized that once the system is in place it must be used with discretion.
“We’ll have the protocol in line and will not abuse it,” he said. “First of all we have to make sure to investigate and make sure it’s a good case. We have to make sure we do our job. But law enforcement can never be successful all the time without public assistance.”
In California, plans are also under way to establish a similar program, called “Care Alert,” in seven counties including El Dorado.
Nina Salarno Ashford, director of the California Attorney General’s Office of Victim Services, is coordinating the creation of the alert system. She’s using a program that started in Dallas called “Amber Alert,” as her model.
“We’ve already got it up and running in Orange (County) . . . we’re growing it county by county,” she said. “It goes right to media. It’s media alert that breaks programming on radio and T.V.”
So far, Amber Alert has helped find six children and one adult in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. That program is named after Amber Hagerman, a girl who in 1996 was kidnapped and murdered in Arlington, Texas.
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