Beach police stand behind decision to send out overnight alert about runaway

Posted at 7:13 PM, Jul 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-26 06:28:13-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - One father is thankful for the alert sent out by police in Virginia Beach at 3:30 a.m. that helped to bring his 12-year-old daughter back home.

“That call caused people to get up, come to my house and to hit the street at literally four minutes after the call went out,” says Tom Brock, the girl’s father.

But for many others, that alert caused confusion. It even made some angry that they were woken up by it.

Quite a few people posted comments on the Virginia Beach City Government's Facebook page on Monday.

And possibly the most frustrating part is that it has taken police two days to come forward with answers.

“I think we have an obligation to use every strategy and every tool that we have in our toolbox to make sure that we bring a 12-year-old home at 3 in the morning,” says Capt. Sean Adams of the Virginia Beach Police Department.

“Do you consider the media part of your toolbox?” asked NewsChannel 3’s Jackie Morlock.

“Yes I do,” responded Capt. Adams.

“So, when we call and ask and we want to put that info out there, we want to put it out there correctly and we're not getting that information back. Don't you think it's important to even let people know?” asked Morlock.

“There's some internal things that we probably can work on and we're always looking to improve on those things,” says Capt. Adams.

Police simply told NewsChannel 3 on Monday that the girl wasn't missing. They said she ran away on her own.

They say through their investigation, they had reason to be concerned and to put out that alert.

And they admit there were some communication gaps that prevented them from relaying that information sooner.

“We're going to look at our internal processes and we're going to look at how we can better make sure that we frame the message to the media and get you included and get that information out,” says Capt. Adams.