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LPD Speaks About Attempted Kidnappings

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LAWTON Okla_ Lawton's police chief and the city manager confronted the public's concern Thursday over the two attempted kidnappings reported to police on Oct. 16.

Read 'Two Attempted Kidnappings in Lawton'

As we first reported to you this week, police did not alert the public at all, and the information wasn't released until our first report Monday night. The public found out about these incidents nearly two weeks after everything occurred. Their anger and frustration with never being alerted by police was intense. Thursday, some of their questions were answered.

"We do not want to cause any undue public alarm by putting out inaccurate information," Lawton Police Chief James Smith said.  

While officials answered questions at the press conference, they made it clear they could have released information before the story broke.

"At what point did you have enough credible information to come forward to the public?" a reporter asked.

"It was later that evening, maybe two or three o'clock in the morning," Chief Smith answered.

Police never did alert the public.

"The reason why it didn't happen, it was a failure of communication on our part," Smith said.

Police obtained surveillance video showing a little girl being followed. They also got talked to a witness to the crime at 12th and Texas in South Lawton. Both attempts were reported to police within an hour of each other the evening of Oct. 16. Chief Smith said Thursday he sympathizes with parents and neighbors who are still boiling over the lack of communication.

"We want to make sure that our children in this community are safe," he said. "That is our utmost concern."  

Still no arrests have been made, and the suspect description remains vague.

"We are looking for a red car with dark tinted windows driven by a dark complexioned white male or Hispanic male," LPD Captain Craig Akard said.

Chief Smith did confirm that he knew of the two kidnapping attempts the very night they both occurred. This case could signal a change in who will be able to alert the public within the police department and how that information is released. 

 

 

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