There are good ideas and there are great ones, and THIS is a great one.
Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz hosted a two-hour recruitment drive in Roxana this afternoon and about 500 people showed up... all ready to be deployed if and when a child in the area goes missing.
Having covered my share of missing kid stories (mostly happy endings believe it or not) I've seen hundreds of well-meaning volunteers show up running all over the place to help, but in reality, sometimes they aren't helping. Things can be disorganized. Authorities and emergency professional searching in an area of rough terrain often end up having to stop and help a volunteer who got hurt or lost or dehydrated. It's a mess.
With this new Child Abduction Response Team, that shouldn't be an issue in Madison County anymore. Everyone who signs up is issued a credential with their name and photo on it showing they belong where they are. They will all be called the moment authorities determine they're needed. This way, as Sheriff Hertz told me, instead of having to try to find resources to help find a child, they can immediate put all their focus on just finding the child.
I heard several people say today they hope they never have to get together like this again, but they know they probably will.
Anyone who wants to be a part of this still can be. Just go by the Madison County Sheriff's Office during regular business hours and someone will sign you up and take your picture.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.