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September 4, 2006

Albany - When children go missing and are believed to be in danger in Georgia, a Levi's call is activated. The missing child's information is then broadcast on radio and T-V stations with hopes that the child will soon be found. Now, a similar system is in place for disabled adults, like people who suffer from alzheimers, to get them home safely.

If a missing person with Alzheimer's isn't found within the first 24 hours of his or her disappearance, there's less than a 50% chance they'll be found alive. And unfortunately, many times they aren't.

In 2003, 76 year old Gladys Cooper was reported missing from her home in Grady County, three weeks later she was found dead. A new law called Mattie's call, is designed to protect people like Cooper.  Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek says, "These can be mental health issues, particularly alzheimers, but any mental health issues, so elderly I think we can really do on a case by case basis."

Law enforcers team up with broadcasters. As soon as a missing person's report is filed and it's determined that the person is in danger, their information is passed along to TV, Radio, even the lottery commission to help find them as soon as possible.  Cheek says, "This is simply for something like the incident in Terrell County recently with the elderly lady. This gives us a means to really get the message out." When that happened in August, WALB News 10 broadcast 35-year old Sandra Monds picture at the request of the Terrell County Sheriff. About a week later, Monds was found safe.

Cheek says, "We're out here to provide a service to the community. Missing people need protection. What better way to help locate somebody than to get more and more people involved and get the word out? This is a great tool for us and the community." As a way to keep community members safe.  Mattie's Call went into affect September 1st.

Kimberly's Call

In addition to the notification of missing adults, another alert is now in place to let the public know about dangerous criminals. Kimberly's call is a statewide alert system that is activated when a murder or rape suspect is on the loose and could be a threat to the public. If a local law enforcement agency believes the suspect is in a certain area, media outlets in that part of the state can broadcast their information, hopefully leading to quick capture of the suspect.

Chief Cheek says, "Community involvement is so valuable for us, we can't do it alone. We have a limited number of resources that are available, but if we're able to draw the entire community in, our resources become almost endless."  Kimberly's call was named in memory of Kimberly Boyd, an Acworth woman who was killed by a convicted child molester and rapist last September.

comments: news@walb.com?subject=Mattie's/Kimberly'sCALL