Local amateur radio operators get ball rolling on abduction alert assistance drill

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 17, 2003

They are planning for the worst possible scenario, and hoping they never have to actually use the knowledge they will gain.

The Lawrence County Amateur Radio Emergency Services/ Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (ARES/RACES) are meeting Monday evening to put finishing touches on a child search drill planned for later this month.

Last year, the ham radio operators approached Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton about helping law enforcement in the event of an abduction. ARES/Races member Ken Massie said the idea is for ham operators to act as extra eyes and ears on the roadways and help look for missing children. Massie said finding a child as quickly as possible after he or she is abducted is crucial to returning that child safely to the worried parents.

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"There was a survey done in Washington State that said that children who are abducted are killed within the first three hours after being taken," Massie said. "Ham radio operators usually have a unit mounted in their car. Should a child be abducted, a ham operator could in that car and on the road, helping look for

that child. We have contact with other operators in Cabell County, W.Va., and Boyd County, Ky. We could get on repeaters and put out the word what's going on."

The plan to involve ham operators would work something like this: when the sheriff's office gets

a call about an abduction, the dispatcher would give the information about the incident to an ARES contact person, who would immediately signal other amateur radio operators. The ham volunteers

would then go to designated areas, such as Lake Vesuvius or the strip mines to look for the missing person and their abductor. Massie said a couple dozen ham operators have taken the necessary training to help law enforcement in the event of an emergency. he would like more ham operators to get involved.

Massie said it is imperative that those who want to help attend the meeting Monday evening. It will be at 7 p.m. at EMA offices on Park Avenue.