The Lethbridge Police Service is the latest law enforcement agency to collaborate with the Missing Children Society of Canada on a new way of finding kids who have disappeared.
“It’s huge,” Staff Sgt. Scott Woods said. “It’s a game-changer.”
It’s called Milk Carton 2.0, an innovative technology that uses the power of social media to instantly reach people in the area with timely and accurate information about a missing child.
“It’s great for the police to be able to have this information, but the power is when you are able to connect with everyone in the community–no matter how they get their information,” chief operating officer of MCSC Tricia Bailey said.
The so-called “Most Valuable Network” allows the society to notify users via Facebook and Twitter. It also sends push notifications of urgent missing child alerts in their area directly to smartphones, creating what they call the world’s first online search party. Bailey said anyone can help.
“Donating your social media, it’s not a monetary donation. We don’t keep any personal information,” she said.
“What it is, is allowing us to post about a missing child in a specific geographic location. You’re not going to be finding out about a child that is missing in Vancouver if you’re in Lethbridge, unless that child is believed to be brought here.”
Woods calls it an integral tool to get the information out into the community, as every second matters when a child goes missing.
“There’s a short window there,” Woods said. “The ability to have us reach out so much faster to such a greater audience, particular with the related things that will come with the app–like being able to have photographs readily available.”
As May 25 is National Missing Children’s Day, LPS and MCSC are encouraging individuals and businesses to join the app to help locate children and reunite them with their loved ones.