When a child is missing or abducted, alerts from the North Carolina Child Alert Network (NC CAN) will be broadcast over the radio. The alerts will start with an emergency tone, followed by a description of the missing child and other vital information.
Orange County Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass said his county is one of six counties to sign on to NC CAN. The alerts are designed to take advantage of what law enforcement officers call golden hours, the first three to four hours after a child has been reported missing or abducted.
"A lot of times, we go for hours and hours and hours, and we don't have information from people who have information, but they just don't know if something has occurred," said Pendergrass.
Pendergrass said investigators will evaluate each missing child case before they activate the network. They will limit alerts to children under 12 years of age.
Cases involving teens and habitual runaways will be judged on a case-by-case basis, and it must be clear that the child is in real danger.
"We want to make absolutely sure this is not a parental abduction. This is for a stranger abduction," said Lt. Charles Blackwood of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Chatham, Harnett, Lee, Moore and Wake counties are also part of the NC CAN system. Media members include WRAL FM's Mix 101.5.