Over 2,000 technicians with the state’s largest phone company will be immediately notified if there’s an “Amber Alert” in Iowa, and the search is on for a kidnapped child. Max Phillips, the top Qwest executive in Iowa, says the company’s “pleased to be a part of trying to find ways to make sure Iowa children who’re endangered or abducted are recovered as quickly as possible.” When an Amber Alert is issued in Iowa, all 2,500 Qwest technicians will get a page with the pertinent information, and the company will also e-mail details to all its employees. Marlys Jones, Qwest’s director of construction and engineering in Iowa, says employees are anxious to help. Jones says when the page goes out, Qwest’s local network technicians will know about an Amber Alert within moments. Des Moines Police Chief Bill McCarthy, a former Qwest employee, says having the eyes and ears of Qwest line workers out and about will make a difference when time is crucial. McCarthy says “there’s nothing more important than trying to take care of our little ones.” Eric Tabor, a spokesman for Iowa’s Attorney General, says coordination is key. Tabor says state officials have had great cooperation from the state’s radio and television stations who’ve pledged to broadcast Amber Alerts, and to have hundreds of Qwest workers join in a search will be critical. Tabor says it’s important to have a strong, public/private partnership. He hopes the state never has to issue an Amber Alert, but if it does, he says it will work. Lieutenant Todd Meisel of the Iowa State Highway Patrol says Qwest is now part of the state’s Amber Alert plan. Meisel says when the planning team assembled last fall, they knew as technology changes, more private sector partners would come on board.
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