Saturday, April 18, 2009

Article in today Charlotte Sun

My opinion, article to follow. Is it me or is Bill Cameron an ass?

Anyhow, thank goodness they got it right. Not to be bitter or cynical but I can't help wonder which 9-1-1 "squad" they had on in the CCSO 9-1-1 call center.

Child abduction scare unfounded

GULF COVE -- A report of an apparent child abduction set off a massive search Friday, tying up police for more than four hours before finally fizzling out in North Port.

Police responded rapidly and in force when a woman called the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office at 10:05 a.m. and reported seeing a man in a red pickup who appeared to be tying up a girl on Gillot Boulevard in Gulf Cove off State Road 776.

The truck had pool cleaning supplies in the back and the girl appeared to be between 6 to 12 years old, the caller told dispatchers.

The woman was unable to make the call until she got to work, however, which cost police 20 minutes of search time, according Bob Carpenter, a spokesman for the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.

"The woman was questioned and seemed very credible," Carpenter said while the search for the red pickup was under way. "Even if she isn't telling the truth, we've got to act as if it did happen."

Detectives, K-9 unit, Major Crimes Unit officers, a members of both the narcotics units and warrant squads were deployed in Charlotte County with assistance from Sarasota and Lee County Sheriff's offices and North Port Police.

They searched the area for a dark red Nissan Frontier pickup.

Police canvassed the neighborhood, took calls on tips and initiated reverse 9-1-1 in the target area, setting up a command center with maps and a bus.

School resource officers checked out both unexcused and female absences.

Pool maintenance companies were called.

Some red pickup were pulled over and their drivers questioned.

"If it was kind of red, they may have been checked out," Carpenter said.

The report turned out to be unfounded.

More than four hours after the call came in, North Port police responded to a home where they found a father and his 17 year-old daughter, who work together in a pool cleaning business.

Both were surprised when police arrived at the home on Price Boulevard. They told police they had been in Gulf Cove Friday morning and that nothing happened in the pickup, according the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.

Everything checked out and there was no crime, police said.

"Everybody who's anybody was in on this," Carpenter said, describing the response to the initial call.

Later, in a prepared statement, the Sheriff's Office described the search as a seamless operation that stretched across a variety of law enforcement agencies and communications media.

"Even though the report turned out to be unfounded, the overall teamwork was impeccable," Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Cameron said in the statement.



Assistant Englewood Editor