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OnStar Helps to Locate Missing Children

Published Sep 10th 2007, 2:40pm by

Ap_amber_alert GM's pioneer and industry leader for in vehicle safety, security, and communication services takes another step to improve efforts with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

OnStar recently announced that its partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) will be expanded to provide geographically targeted AMBER Alert messages to OnStar subscribers. In addition to this technological advancement, OnStar will contribute $300,000 to NCMEC to support Team Adam, a dedicated group of retired law enforcement officials with expertise in missing children cases.

Starting this month, OnStar will integrate AMBER Alert data into its call center's geographical mapping system so that the Alerts are immediately available to OnStar advisors when a subscriber calls in from an affected area. If the subscriber is in the area of an AMBER Alert, the OnStar advisor will notify them of the situation and ask the subscriber if they would like additional information to help identify the abducted child. With this advancement, OnStar's advisor team can become more proactive in helping to make subscribers aware of AMBER Alerts in their specific area.

"When a child is abducted, every second counts to increase the likelihood of a safe return," said OnStar President Chet Huber. "Integrating geographical targeting into our technology further reinforces OnStar's ongoing commitment to improve our capabilities to keep families - and in this case, children -- safe and secure."

"Rapid response is vital in abduction cases, and the widespread use of the AMBER Alert network makes it the nation's most powerful tool for bringing abducted children home," said Regina B. Schofield, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs and the National AMBER Alert coordinator. "I applaud the efforts of OnStar and NCMEC to alert the public and raise awareness of AMBER Alerts."

In addition to this enhancement, OnStar will contribute a total of $300,000 to support the efforts of Team Adam over the next three years. This group of consultants, who have related investigative experience and have received specialized training in missing and abducted children cases, is deployed for rapid on-site response. They provide support in numerous high profile cases, often providing local law enforcement with critical investigative and technical assistance needed to address the crisis. OnStar's contribution funds critical emergency supply and equipment needs, urgent state-of-the-art tools, and short-term specialized support for the most difficult and challenging cases.

Team Adam has been deployed 287 times in 43 states for a total of 332 missing children; out of which 307 have been safely recovered. In addition to assisting law enforcement, Team Adam consultants also provide an added service by ensuring that victim families receive the appropriate help they need to cope during and after a crisis. Team Adam was named after Adam Walsh, the abducted and murdered son of NCMEC co-founders, Reve and John Walsh. John is also widely known for his role as host of the television program "America's Most Wanted." Team Adam receives its funding through private donations and a grant from the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Onstar_logo "It is important to keep in mind that just one lead can result in finding a child," said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. "OnStar's advanced technology will give millions of citizens the power to help reunite families, and its support of Team Adam ensures that families of missing children receive the assistance that they desperately need."

General Motors' OnStar began its partnership with NCMEC in April 2004. Since then, OnStar subscribers have reported emergency information related to an AMBER Alert or a lost child by pressing the red OnStar emergency button in their vehicles. Immediately, the subscribers are connected with OnStar emergency services advisors who expedite the calls to emergency dispatchers.

Each month, OnStar receives about 9,600 emergency services calls, which includes 6,000 Good Samaritan calls for events such as medical emergencies, crashes involving other motorists and calls about AMBER Alerts.

For more information about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com. For more information about the national AMBER Alert program, please visit www.amberalert.gov. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

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