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The HASKINS POLICE DEPARTMENT is excited to have become a part of the LOCATOR network established by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It is important to us to know that should we have the unfortunate circumstance to deal with a missing child that the latest tools and technology are at our disposal.

According to a study by the Washington State Attorney General's Office, in 74 percent of missing-child homicides, the child is murdered within the first 3 hours of the abduction.1

With this in mind, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) launched LOCATER, a program to distribute advanced computer systems to create and disseminate posters of missing children locally, statewide, or nationwide. LOCATER is provided at no charge to the agency. 

LOCATER is a program to hasten the recovery of missing and abducted children by providing law-enforcement agencies the technology to rapidly disseminate images and information. Through a Congressional mandate and U.S. Department of Justice grant, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is able to offer specific tools and equipment at no charge to any law-enforcement agency whose responsibilities include investigating cases of missing or abducted children.

These tools and equipment include NCMEC's latest poster-creation software titled LOCATER, state-of-the-art computers, color printers, quality scanners, three years of technical service and support, and three years of Internet service if needed. Using LOCATER, agencies can quickly create their own missing-person posters. Once created, high-quality copies can be printed for distribution at roll calls, at incident command posts, and to the community. Posters can also be electronically transmitted to other agencies, the media, and the public via the Internet or through a broadcast fax service.

Below is an example of how the LOCATER system could be used.

• A law-enforcement agency receives a missing-child report and obtains the child's photograph from a parent or legal guardian.The child's image can also be submitted on a diskette or via E-mail.

• After entering the missing child's information into the National Crime Information Center's (NCIC) computer, the user launches LOCATER. The poster-creation software and templates guide the user through the process of generating a poster.

• The user prints high-quality color posters to be distributed at roll calls, at incident command posts, and to the public.

• The user selects from a list of LOCATER Users or other law-enforcement agencies to distribute the poster or inputs E-mail addresses of recipients at his or her discretion. If the list includes an agency with a LOCATER system, the receiving system will activate an audible and visual signal.

• Receiving law-enforcement agencies can view, print, and distribute the poster repeatedly.

• In addition to alerting law-enforcement agencies, users can quickly E-mail or fax posters to the media and public as deemed appropriate.