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Washington County offers programs to track missing people

Spring is here, and our calls for service are up by 20 percent from the January calls for service. Many of the additional calls are quality-of-life requests such as welfare checks and suspicions persons or vehicles observed in a neighborhood.

The police department encourages residents to report suspicious people or vehicles.

Being the eyes and ears for the police department goes a long way in the prevention of crime in the community.

Finding lost and missing people

During the past few months, the police department has responded to several calls of missing persons who suffer from dementia or other types of disability. Fortunately, we have been able to locate the persons unharmed and returned them home.

We realize that such events are traumatic for the caretakers and family members and are very worrisome to the police. Often caretakers will ask how they can help locate the missing person.

The more information that is provided - including the description of clothing and unique habits, or physical attributes - helps police in locating lost loved ones.

In addition, in Washington County there are two programs provided by the sheriff's office but accessible to all law-enforcement agencies in the county that greatly assist in the location of a lost person who is suffering from a disability such as dementia.

The first program is Project Lifesaver, which entails using a signal-producing device that the person wears on the wrist or ankle.

When the person is reported lost, and the caretaker notifies the police, the police notify the sheriff's office, and the system is activated. A trained operator will respond to the area and use a signal-seeking device to locate the missing person.

Based on national statistics, the average search lasts 30 minutes. The program requires the party to register with the sheriff's office and pay for the use of the signal-emitting device.

The second program, Help Me Home, is a proactive approach to assist the police in identifying lost persons. The Help Me Home program requires participants to provide a photo and pertinent information that is entered into a confidential data base monitored by the sheriff's office.

To locate a lost or missing person, the officer checks the data base and armed with that information is significantly more likely to find the person. This program requires a $20 registration fee that is good for two years.

To receive more information on both programs, including how to register and the cost, you should contact Marcia Langer at Washington County Sheriff's Office at 503 846-6048 05 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Bikes and cars

With the onset of good weather, many residents ask what are the rights of motorists versus bicyclists. The thing to remember is that motorists and bicyclists have the same rights and duties when on the roadways in Oregon.

Here are some simple tips taken from a Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation newsletter:

Motorists:

-- When passing a bike, slow down and allow 3 feet clearance;

-- When turning left, watch for and yield to oncoming bikes;

-- Look for bikes when opening your car door;

-- Be alert and expect the unexpected.

Bicyclists:

-- Obey traffic controls and laws;

-- Signal turns and lane changes, and watch for oncoming traffic before making a change;

-- Drive on the right side of roadway in the direction you want to go;

-- You may pass on the right only when safe to do so;

-- Do not pass stopped cars at a crosswalk or intersection or if the car ahead of you is signaling to turn right.

These and more tips can be found in the Oregon Driver's Manual (pick one up at City Hall) and the bicyclist's manual. Either publication can be found online at www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/forms/manual.

Shred Day approaches

The second annual King City Shred Day quickly approaches. The date is May 10 between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Bring all your documents that need to be disposed of in a secure manner. A donation of a can of food is welcome for the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.

The King City Police Department and the city of King City are sponsoring the event.

You be the judge (or you've got to be kidding)

In a neighboring state, a prosecutor decided to hold a line-up that included a suspect who was involved in several convenience store robberies.

The prosecutor picked five people, including the suspect, who was the fifth person in the lineup.

The prosecutor asked each person to stop forward and say, "Give me all your money, and I need some change in quarters, dimes and nickels."

The first four did everything perfectly. However, when it was the fifth person's (the suspect's) time to recite the phrase, he blurted out, "That isn't what I said!"

Needless to say, our robber provided the prosecutor with a much-easier case to prosecute.

Until next time, be good, be neighborly and be safe.

Chuck Fessler is the King City police chief.