Lawton Police discusses Amber Alert criteria

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 6:24 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The recent search for Athena Brownfield left many people with questions about what qualifies for an Amber Alert and how would the Lawton Police Department handle a similar situation.

The Lawton Police Department said when dealing with missing children every situation is different.

LPD’s watch commander Captain Ryan Studebaker said they have 5 conditions they follow before issuing an Amber Alert.

“One is that we have reason to believe that a child has been abducted and the next element would be is the child actually endanger and then we have to have a certain amount of information to able to put that out to the public,” Studebaker said.

If the child is under 17 years old, police will enter their name into the National Crime Information Center system.

Captian Studebaker said if they were to have a situation similar to Athena Brownfield they would have all hands on deck and search until the child is found.

“What we would do is, it’s not just a search process we are also investigating. So if we are doing an investigation and we stumble across some information that might lead us to believe that the child, heaven forbid is deceased, in that case, that would move us over into the phase of doing a body recovery,” Studebaker said.

The last Amber Alert LPD sent out was in August of last year and the victims were found within 10 hours. Captian Studebaker said for most of their missing child reports they have found the child within hours.

He said LPD would still call in their agency to help assist in searching for a missing child, but they do have their own resources to help.

“We have drones that have the thermal capability so if we do have a child or somebody that is missing that could be out in the woods or something we could actually see them and locate the child,” Studebaker said.

The captain emphasized how Oklahoma communities come out in force to help a child.

“I really do think that you would see like what Cyril did, you would see everybody jumping in. I would definitely expect to see other agencies wanting to help come in and help us to do a search and offer any assistance that they could. Just showing that everyone is willing to work together,” Studebaker said.

The Lawton Police Department said that even though they wish they did not have missing children reports, they are prepared to deal with them.