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Hand-held computer can identify missing children.

Local authorities have a new tool to find and identify missing and exploited children. The Sony Corporation of America and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children unveiled a pocket-sized computer last month that gives law enforcement immediate access to a national data base on missing children.

Using the Sony Data Discman, a hand-held CD-ROM disc drive, city and town law enforcement can type in the information of a missing child such as the state they are missing from, the gender and any physical characteristics such as if the child has a scar and immediately access information and photo of missing children that fit those descriptions from a data base of about 700 active files. The officer will also receive information about the nearest missing children clearinghouse including telephone numbers and contacts.

Presented during Sony's technology conference in Washington, Discman Electronic Book Player is the result of a three-year project involving Sony, IBM, Applied Multi-media Technologies, and other companies, the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The project was born from a need to improve technology delivery in finding missing children. In addition to the portable data base, the project developed a computer and soft ware that ages long-term missing children.

Sony is offering the Discman at production cost for $299 to law enforcement and missing children organizations including free, one-year quarterly updated data on CD. At the end of the first year, agencies can receive updated data CDs for a $20 membership fee to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"We are excited about the potential impact Sony's technology can make on the daily fight to save children's lives," said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "In child abduction cases, every hour can mark the difference between success and failure. Using the Data Discman, our public and private partners will have access to the latest information on thousands of missing children at their fingertips."

"At the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children we don't claim to have found a missing child. It's a law enforcement agency somewhere in this country that finds 99 percent of all missing children," said Allen.

Sony's Manager of National Programs Keith Dalton said he wants to encourage local elected officials to enact legislation that mandates the immediate reporting of missing children to the National Center." "Once a child is missing for four hours, the chances of recovering that child is reduced by 20 percent," he said.

For more information, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (703) 235-3900 or Stephen DiFranco at Sony at (201) 358-4204.
COPYRIGHT 1992 National League of Cities
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Baker, Denise
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Jul 27, 1992
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