Crowley's Ridge Nature Center Safer for Students

JONESBORO, AR--If you have a student in Region 8, then there is a good chance they have visited Crowley's Ridge Nature Center on a field trip. A new plan being considered to protect your kids next time they visit.

For a parent your child's safety is always a concern.

"I've got a couple of daughters and everyday I think about those little girls going to school and daycare. We think they are safe but are they," said Craighead County 911 Coordinator Bob Andrews

Andrews is working on a new plan with several county agencies that should protect children from being kidnapped at Crowley's Ridge Nature Center.

"With the protocol we are trying to put in place, hopefully we will be able to help prevent them from leaving the scene," said Andrews.

The joint effort between the nature center, Jonesboro Police, Craighead County Sheriff's and Craighead County 911 would combine resources to make the nature center safer for children. A teacher or group supervisor would have a hand held radio and if one of their students disappears, the wheels are set in motion.

"If something were to happen, they immediately have contact with staff at the nature center. We can do a lockdown of the nature center in addition to a lockdown of Craighead Forrest Park," said Andrews.

If the child is not immediately located or recovered, a missing child alert would be sent out to area media outlets. Unlike an Amber Alert, a missing child alert can be issued immediately. The key to this new plan is county wide communication and that starts with 911 Dispatch.

"We are kind of the hub of Craighead County and if we get the information, we can get it out to multiple agencies in a short amount of time," said Andrews.

According to Crowley's Ridge Nature Center, on an average day during the school year, they'll have over 200 students. With the center's proximity to three major highways, all parties involved want to make sure this major attraction is secure.

"If something is going to occur, most people like to do a crime where they are not scene and that is a good place to be hidden," said Andrews.

The county is hoping a little planning will go a long way in preventing a future kidnapping.

"With any community your biggest attribute is your children and we just want to make sure they are safe," said Andrews.

911 Dispatch says they still have a few kinks to work out, but hope to have the plan ready to go in the next couple months.