Raleigh, N.C. —North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives have joined the state’s Amber Alert program and will provide the network with eyes and ears in rural North Carolina.
“The electric cooperatives of North Carolina deploy approximately 1,400 linemen, filed technicians and engineers in the communities every day,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president of corporate relations for
North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. “Many times, they’re working in the most remote parts of the state, places where police patrols don’t often come by. When we dispatch an Amber Alert, crews in 93 of the state’s 100 counties will be on the lookout.”
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve the largest geographic area of the state’s electric utilities. As a rule of thumb, area outside a formal city limit is usually served by one of the state’s 27 electric cooperatives. The co-ops maintain 90,000 miles of power lines, by far the most of any electric utility serving North Carolina.
The Amber Alert program is designed to safely recover missing children who are in danger of serious injury or death. When an Amber Alert is dispatched by law enforcement, electric cooperative personnel will then relay the alert instantly to personnel in the field via electronic messaging.
The addition of such a wide geographic distribution of personnel, often in out-of-the-way areas, should prove a major asset to the state’s Amber Alert system. Time is precious during abduction. A recent U.S. Department of Justice report determined that in 40 percent of 115 juvenile abductions studied, the child was murdered usually within 24 hours of abduction. However, a study by the Washington state Attorney General’s Office indicated that in 75 percent of child abduction/murder cases studied, death occurred within the first three hours of kidnapping.
The North Carolina Amber Alert System was first activated in June 2002 and resulted in a Franklin County infant being returned unharmed from a baby sitter who abducted the child and transported it to another county.
Inclusion in the Amber Alert program is a part of the 60-year history of North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives’ commitment to its communities.