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The CodeRED system is a free emergency notification service for residents of Miller County, Ark., and Bowie County, Texas -- including both Texarkanas -- that alerts people about dangerous weather conditions, evacuation notices, bioterrorism warnings and boil-water notices.

It also sends reports of missing children. And that's what happened Tuesday.

Several Texarkana residents who had signed up for the service reported receiving a phone call early Tuesday morning from CodeRED that alerted them of an emergency situation. They were told to be on the lookout for two men who police said attacked a woman, stole her vehicle and kidnapped her small child in the process.

Luckily, the 5-year-old girl, who was sitting in the back seat of her mother's SUV at the time of the aggravated robbery, was found a short time later walking near the intersection of East 12th Street and State Line Avenue. She did not suffer any reported injuries, said Lt. Todd Harness of the Texarkana, Ark., police.

"Because the suspects let the child out of the car as quickly as they did, it does not appear as though the suspects knew the child was inside the car during the commission of the theft," Harness said.

Had the girl not been let out quickly, the alert was meant to give residents important information about a missing child, serving to keep the community abreast of what to look for and of ways they could help locate the child.

Cpl. Kristi Bennett of the Texarkana Police Department said in October that the CodeRED system was first established for the two counties in 2006 as a means of quickly notifying targeted areas of emergency situations -- such as the incident Tuesday.

"The CodeRED system gives city officials the ability to deliver pre-recorded emergency telephone notification [or] information messages to targeted areas or the entire city [or] county at a rate of up to 60,000 calls per hour," Bennett said. "The CodeRED system not only offers faster calling rates and improved message delivery, it gives individuals and businesses the ability to add their own phone numbers directly to the system's telephone database."

CodeRED is free, according to area law enforcement, who said it takes only minutes to sign up.

Information required when signing up for CodeRED includes the user's first and last name; a physical street address, along with a city, state and ZIP code; and a primary telephone number.

Those interested in signing up for CodeRED emergency alerts can do so by visiting the City of Texarkana, Texas, website at ci.texarkana.tx.us and scrolling down for a link to the CodeRED sign-up page.

Those without Internet service can sign up for alerts by calling (903) 798-3181.

"CodeRED gives those who want to be included an easy and secure method for doing so," Kelly O'Neill, central records and communication manager of the Texarkana Police Department, said in a release. "The information will only be used for emergency notification purposes."

Metro on 12/27/2015

Print Headline: Kidnapping alerts sent in Texarkana

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