If a child goes missing in Lorain County, Ohio, west of Cleveland, every police officer in the county can see a photo within minutes, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The public, too, can be alerted on computers, cell phones or PDAs. If residents have information about a crime, they can go online and post it anonymously. It’s all part of a new system called LISA, for Lorain Information Sharing Agreement. Nothing else like it exists in Ohio. LISA began operation last week. About 2,000 people a day are connecting to www.lisaalerts.com. About 50 have registered to receive alerts. Already, 130 alerts have been sent among departments and 35 to the public. If a thief uses a stolen credit card in a store with video surveillance, police can post or e-mail the images so the public can help identify a suspect.
LISA arose from the need for police in the county’s 18 departments to share more information, Prosecutor Dennis Will said. The project cost $84,000. The county’s police chiefs association provided a $42,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Will donated $42,000 in forfeited drug money. The system does not replace Amber Alerts or teletype programs already in use. The public can sign up at www.ohioamberplan.org to get Amber alerts by e-mail, but many crimes do not fit the criteria to activate an Amber Alert. An Amber Alert cannot be issued unless police have a description of a suspect and vehicle. With the LISA system, police can post information without restriction.