Arizona Attorney General's office joins the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in encouraging all Arizona businesses to develop procedures for reuniting children with their families when they become lost while in a retail store, shopping mall, or museum. Information has been provided to Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs so that local law enforcement agencies can promote this innovative program to protect children from abduction. Arizona law-enforcement agencies have been encouraged to check retail stores in their area for the existence of programs to help retrieve lost children and to introduce the Code Adam Program.
Code Adam, one of the country's largest child-safety programs, was created and promoted by the Wal-Mart® retail stores and named in memory of 6-year-old Adam Walsh whose abduction from a Florida shopping mall and murder in 1981 brought the horror of child abduction to national attention. When a customer reports a missing child to a store employee, a "Code Adam" alert is announced over the public-address system. A brief description of the child is obtained and provided to all designated employees who immediately stop their normal work to search for the child, and monitor all exits to help prevent the child from leaving the store. If the child is not found within 10 minutes of initiating a store-wide search, or if the child is seen accompanied by someone other than a parent or guardian, store personnel contact the local police department and request assistance.
Since the Code Adam program began in 1994, it has been a powerful preventive tool against child abductions and lost children in more than 40,000 stores across the nation. Wal-Mart®, with the help of NCMEC, has generously offered other retailers the opportunity to implement this powerful tool against child abduction."
Our goal is to ensure that every larger retail store in Arizona is a participant. Participating retailers in Arizona include Bashas', Babies "R" Us, Banana Republic, Best Buy, Burlington Coat Factory, Marshalls, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Sportmart, Sporting Goods, Old Navy, Safeway, Sports Authority, T.J. Maxx, Toys "R" Us and Wal-Mart.
In April 2003, Congress enacted legislation that mandated that Federal Office Buildings become Code Adam buildings. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is assisting states in developing plans to include all state owned or leased offices serving the public in the Code Adam Program. The Office of Attorney General will participate along with Arizona State Government agencies in this effort to help ensure that Arizona children are safe.
In conjunction with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, through its missing children clearinghouse, the Attorney General's Office will serve as a point of contact for information on the Code Adam Program. A Get Started Packet is available free of charge from the Arizona Attorney General's Office as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (703-274-3900) www.missingkids.com. Training is also available to Arizona law enforcement agencies to assist with implementation of the program.