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Police Use OnStar in Rescue

September 01, 2005 -- Police in Wisconsin are crediting General Motors' OnStar system and the AMBER Alert program with the successful rescue of a 17-month-old child taken last Thursday from his mother's home.

Although this was a stolen vehicle, the child, who was the subject of an AMBER Alert, was recovered in good condition hours after several men were arrested in connection with beating the child's mother, abducting the child and stealing the mother's 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix, which was equipped with the OnStar safety and security system.

Police saved precious time by working with an OnStar advisor to locate the stolen vehicle and, later, two suspects. Then, through more questioning, a third suspect who was holding the child had been located.

OnStar played a huge role in finding this child," said Greenfield, Wis. Police Lt. Brad Wentlandt, who coordinates emergency dispatch operations. "All of our personnel were aware of OnStar's capabilities after OnStar sent us a video training kit recently." The educational OnStar training kit teaches emergency service personnel how to interact with OnStar personnel to take full advantage of the GPS-enabled technology. Based on that, officers correctly assumed that the GM-made Pontiac was equipped with OnStar. "This child is safe today because of a great combination of OnStar's service and excellent police work," Wentlandt said.

"This is the kind of moment that motivates all of us to come to work every day," said Cathy McCormick, OnStar Service Line Manager of Emergency Services. "When a child is missing, every second counts to increase the likelihood of a safe return. OnStar is happy - humbled, really - to be able to share our technology with law enforcement to recover a missing child."

OnStar joined with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children last year in an effort to use OnStar technology and its more than 3 million subscribers to locate missing and abducted children. NCMEC helped develop the AMBER Alert program nationwide, a successful partnership between the nation's law enforcement agencies and radio and television stations that activates emergency bulletins to the public when a child is abducted and believed to be in danger.

"We know that just one lead can result in finding a child," said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. "OnStar technology and the AMBER Alert program give law enforcement officers an advantage they need to find missing and abducted children and bring them home safely."

An OnStar subscriber who wants to report emergency information related to an AMBER alert or a lost child can press the red OnStar emergency button in his or her vehicle. Immediately, the subscriber will be connected with an OnStar emergency services advisor, who will expedite the call to a 911 dispatcher.

Each month, GM's OnStar receives about 14,000 emergency assistance calls, as well as 4,500 Good Samaritan calls. OnStar call centers are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. OnStar is available to subscribers and the nation's 6,000 emergency 911 centers in all 50 states and every Canadian province.

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