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South River Electric Membership Corporation and North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives are part of the state’s Amber Alert program and will provide the network with "eyes and ears" in rural North Carolina.

"The electric cooperatives of North Carolina deploy approximately 1,400 linemen, field technicians and engineers in the communities every day," said South River EMC Manager of Member Services Catherine O’Dell. "Many times, they’re working in the most remote parts of the state, places where police patrols are rare. When we dispatch an Amber Alert, crews in 93 of the state’s 100 counties will be on the lookout."

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve the largest geographic area of the state’s electric utilities. The co-ops maintain 90,000 miles of power lines, by far the most of any electric utility serving North Carolina.

The Amber Alert program is designed to safely recover missing children who are in danger of serious injury or death. When an Amber Alert is dispatched by law enforcement, electric cooperative personnel will then relay the alert instantly to personnel in the field.

The addition of such a wide geographic distribution of personnel, often in out-of-the-way areas, should prove a major asset to the state’s Amber Alert system. Time is precious following abduction. A recent U.S. Department of Justice report determined that in 40 percent of 115 juvenile abductions studied, the child was murdered usually within 24 hours of abduction. However, a study by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office indicated that in 75 percent of child abduction/murder cases studied, death occurred within the first three hours of kidnapping.

The North Carolina Amber Alert System was first activated in June 2002 and resulted in a Franklin County infant being returned unharmed from a baby sitter who abducted the child and transported it to another county.

Inclusion in the Amber Alert program is a part of the 64-year history of South River EMC and North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives’ commitment to our communities.

South River EMC, a Touchstone Energy cooperative, is an electric distribution cooperative, which provides electric service to 42,000 homes, farms and businesses in parts of Harnett, Sampson, Cumberland, Johnston and Bladen counties.