To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Monday, October 18, 2021

Observercast

Where Good Ideas Go To Die

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BY JOE DORMAN

Dorman,JoeOver the weekend, one of the volunteers from my campaign had something terrible happen to his family. I received a message through social media asking for help in locating his missing step-daughter. She had disappeared from home and he and his wife were frantic. They took to the Internet to spread the message so many eyes would be on the lookout for her.

The most recent update on Monday was that she had been located and was at a hospital receiving treatment for injuries, but she was alive and would be returning home. Authorities were investigating the incident and looking for the person who had caused her harm.

This story ended far better than many others. Two years ago, I authored legislation to help Oklahoma families locate missing children, whether they had been abducted or had run away from home. I worked with a family in reviewing the case of their murdered daughter to see what could have been done differently.

We worked to write legislation to create a runaway alert system, similar to the Amber Alert. Many are unaware Amber Alerts are not issued for all missing children or runaways. They are only used in cases of a suspected abduction. The reason given is there are tens of thousands of reported runaways each year in Oklahoma.

Here is the exact wording from the Oklahoma plan:

The Amber Plan should only be activated when a child 17 years of age or younger, or an individual under proven mental or physical disability is abducted and there is reason to believe the victim is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death, and there is information available to disseminate to law enforcement agencies and the general public which could assist in the safe recovery of the victim and/or the apprehension of a suspect.

You can read the full memorandum at https://www.dps.state.ok.us/amberalert/amberplan.pdf.

Our proposed legislation would create a voluntary alert for police officers during a runaway situation if they signed up by zip codes. Officers would be notified as the case was reported to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the system used nationwide by authorities. This would contain the alert to a specific area and not overload an officer with statewide reports.

Under our proposal, children could also be detained until parents were notified and an exit interview would be given by authorities to prevent returning a child to a harmful situation.

The full cost of developing the software program was estimated to be about $80,000. I added to the legislation that private resources could be used so less financial burden would impact the Department of Public Safety budget each year. Parents would also be responsible for the costs associated with returning the child home.

The bill passed the House of Representatives, but was rejected in the Oklahoma Senate. The next year, the bill was denied a hearing. This year, a similar version authored by Rep. Shane Stone, D-Oklahoma City, was denied a final hearing in committee.

The frustrating part of government is the refusal to look at issues and offer solutions to obvious problems. It seems easier for them to dismiss ideas with no discussion on merits. We see many good ideas meet the same fate in all levels of government.

It is my hope that this and other common sense ideas have the opportunity to become law in 2016.

Joe Dorman, a Rush Springs Democrat, represented District 65 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for 12 years. He was the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Joe, Although I tend to pay more attention to education bills, if I had known that this needed some support I probably would have put it out on my Facebook page which still has quite a few people watching it and ask them to write their congressmen. Next time you have a bill like this come through please let me know and I will help get it disseminated.

  2. I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes. My heart hurts. It hurts not just for kids that could have been cared recovered due to this proposed bill, but because so many kids are denied so many necessary solutions because of adults who are playing politics. My heart aches deeply. I have given up on most politicians in this state, irrespective of their political affiliation. When will our elected leaders do what is best for the people, not what is best for them or their political party or their future aspirations? I’m beyond being angry. My heart is genuinely broken.

  3. Friends, please know that all who have helped our family was beyond our imagination the out pouring of support from Neighbors and others in different cities, even different states it made no matter everyone came together to help us find Raven we can never Thank you enough for this.

    I just have one favor through all this tragedy and all the heartache to follow to not make our story just another page in history don’t let this just become a memory or just a passing moment for I too am am guilty of this as a parent and as a human we all get consumed with our day.

    Find out where your children our, have a family meal, have a family movie night, take your children to the zoo or even the park.

    I know we all do this and well I also know we all began to take it for granted for we too our guilty of just that like anything in life we assume it will be there forever and then in an instant it is not.

    I have always practiced the routine of life is short or life is precious don’t waste even a moment of it but until you live it and God force’s you to live that reality your perspective over that routine becomes a harsh reality.

    This weekend I was challenged, my family was challenged my love for a child that wasn’t even of my own blood was challenged every fiber of my being and our spiritual belief system was torn apart and ripped away from the inside and out.

    I will be the first to tell you we are like any other American family we struggle living pay check to pay check and only months away from financial ruin.

    We fight we disagree and we even say things you shouldn’t have said because you reach a point where you have no where else to turn and you become so lost that you turn to God and you pray lord please fix this and please help my family and then help seems to never come.

    Well to us help came by the thousands and slowly I began to feel like the richest person in the world, we have had so much love and so much love given to us by everyone each and every single person, every comment, each share, private message, or even just a like.

    We have experienced the past 3 days and for many months ahead something I don’t ever want to see another family experience we must change a State then we must change a nation.

    For I will be the one that stands up and I will be the one to lead and open my closet to expose my family and my life to save others from the worst and most unimaginable fear ever.

    No parent ever should live with bring helpless or with no where to turn for we have lived in fear far too long with no help from our leader’s or from those meant to protect and serve.

    Please join me in making America a place where our children and our families can roam free and where they can feel safe 100 yards away from home or a mile away that they will always have always face or a place to stay.

    My love to all and for today is the beginning day we change!

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.