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In Response To Mother Upset Over How Missing Son Handled

Rickey Stokes

Viewed: 3546

Posted by: RStokes
[email protected]
Date: Nov 18 2021 12:38 PM

DOTHAN:    WDHN ran a article where a missing 14 year old young man was missing and the mother does not feel the Dothan Police Department did all they could have in finding her son.


The 14-year-old Brandon Layne Smith was missing for nine days; wandering alone in the woods.

A young teen with severe mental illness, including bipolar disorder.

This was not the first time Brandon has gone missing. But Dothan Police has guidelines that are required to follow for AMBER Alerts. And those decisions are made at a Montgomery level with ALEA ( Alabama Law Enforcement Agency ). The local departments submit the information to ALEA but can not force AMBER Alerts.

There is a database called NCIC ( National Crime Information Center ). The missing person is entered into the database. Anywhere in the United States of America that a law enforcement officer would run that name through the communications center it would return a "hit" showing the child was a runaway from Dothan.

Over the last six months the number of runaway children appears to have dramatically increased. The local agencies issues BOLOS ( Be On Look Out ) to area agencies. The Dothan Police Patrol and Criminal Investigators attempt to run down leads.

Parents also have a responsibility. While compassionate to the mother's concern's. Make sure if they have a cell phone that is on your account. That will allow you to have the ability to log in and see what numbers they have texted or called.

Make sure there is the app Live 360 on the phone. This will allow you to see their location and where they have been. Make sure you watch their Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other Social Media Posts.

TEXT YOUR KIDS. I placed a tracking device in my son's truck. Put it under his head rest. A few days later, on a weekend, I called and asked where he was at. He told me.

What he did not know was I had already been by where his truck was and took a picture before I asked him.

RICKEY STOKES DOES NOT ASK QUESTIONS THAT HE DOES NOT ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWERS TO. It has taken politicians some time to figure that out.

My son told me the truth. The next school day I went to the school and took the device out of his truck. He told me the truth so I did not need the device on the truck. He was 16 and now is 24 and I have never doubted him since.

I slipped a tracking device on my daughter's car after she had gotten a speeding ticket. She did not know it was on there. When she reached a certain speed I got a text. I would then call her and tell her to slow down. Her question would be, where are you? Response - don't worry about where I am, you slow down.

After my daughter was living on her own with my grandson. I would see her location and she was home. I then looked at her alarm and if it was ARMED HOME I knew her and Brantley made it inside, safely.

When I was over Cottonwood Rescue. The tracking device I placed on the ambulance. I would receive a text when the wheels turned on the ambulance. I could look at the ambulance traveling down the road and speed. I trusted the guys but when a call came I wanted to know the ambulance was rolling and how long it took them to be rolling from when the call came in.

So parents are charged with the responsibility to know. Trust but verify. Be involved.

During the years of my children growing up I would get their friends cell phone numbers. And would lock those numbers in my phone under my children's name and friend. So if a problem I could start trying to locate them.

IN NO WAY am I being critical of this mother or her complaints. But as parents we have to be very proactive in today's society. And these are just a few ways.

Dothan Police Department takes missing persons seriously. I listen to the calls probably more than the average person. Recently in the search of one person off duty officers were called in and Dothan Fire Department joined in the search. 

People do not realize but the call volume for Dothan Police Department is about 17,000 calls per month that officers are dispatched on. Each call is important and Chief Benny, Captain Ott, Captain Glover, Captain Davis and Captain Penn and everyone below the management level takes each one as important.

And often times steps are being taken they can not share.

FOR INSTANCE - a lot of misinformation this past week concerning the National Peanut Festival as to things happening. There was a lot of security measures in place between National Peanut Festival Staff, Dothan Police Department and Houston County Sheriff Department that no one ever dreamed of or ever saw. Often times there are things that will never be disclosed because you never let your game plans be known.

LAW ENFORCEMENT is only as good as the information provided by the persons reporting. When called, the law enforcement officer probably does not know the individuals. So the information a person provides combined with law enforcement training and experience is how things get solved.

AS A PARENT, you are licensed by GOD to be nosey in your child's life. Second, you can not put a child on a clothes hanger and place them in the closet, taking the child out whenever you want to play. When GOD blesses you with children, until the child is able to take complete responsibility for themselves, your life about yourself is, basically over. GOD gave you children and their care and welfare is first.

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