July 25, 2013
Virginia Beach Police are defending their use of a reverse 911 system to awaken residents in the middle of the night as they searched for a 12-year-old runaway.
Residents complained after receiving the automated alert about the missing girl around 3 AM Tuesday. Police contacted more than 17,000 homes, but only about half picked up in person or through an answering machine.
Police had searched unsuccessfully for the girl for about three hours when they decided to activate the reverse 911 system. While they apologized for inconveniencing some residents, officials say they were obligated to do everything they could to get the girl home safely.
Friends eventually found the girl, and she was reunited with her parents Tuesday night.