To those who know me, I can sometimes be a worry-wart.
I am intrigued by criminology, and growing up - always wanted to do something in law enforcement. I love reading true crime novels, and spend my afternoons watching 48 hours online (and similar shows) while I edit.
I spent 4 years working at the John Howard Society (and LOVED every minute of it), and studied psychology and criminology classes at UNB.
Sometimes my 'worry-wart' outlook drives my Norman crazy.
But my outlook - I would rather listen to him complain about me being a "worry-wart", than me telling him - "I told you so."
I am surprised at the number of people who have no idea, including my Norm - a volunteer firefighter, what CODE ADAM means?
So, here it is.
Do you know what CODE ADAM means?
This is Adam Walsh.
On July 27, 1981 Adam and his mother went to Sears to look at lamps.
Wanting to play in the toy department close by, his mother agreed. And when she came back to get him, less than 10 minutes later, Adam was gone.
The Unthinkable ....
Two weeks later, on August 10, 1981 Adam's severed head was found about 100 miles away, in Vero Beach, Florida, by two fisherman.
The rest of his remains have never been found.
Possible suspects for Adam’s kidnapping and death were Jeffrey Dahmer, Ottis Toole, and Henry Lee Curtis. While no one was brought to justice, it is believed that Ottis Toole performed the crime.
Finding a Purpose ...
Adam's death, and his father's subsequent activism on his behalf, helped put faces on milk cartons, shopping bags and mailbox fliers, started fingerprinting programs and increased security at schools and stores. It spurred the creation of missing persons units at every large police department.
It also prompted national legislation to create a national center, database and toll-free line devoted to missing children.
It also led to the start of "America's Most Wanted," A show John Walsh still to this day, is the very passionate host of.
How Walmart plays a part ....
In 1994, Walmart created a safety program called "CODE ADAM" - a "missing child" safety program in the USA and Canada, named after Adam Walsh. It address some of the mistakes made the day Adam went missing, and some preventative measures.
It consist of the following SIX steps:
1. If a visitor reports a child is missing, a detailed description of the child and what he or she is wearing is obtained. Additionally, all exterior access to the building is locked and monitored; anyone approaching a door is turned away.
2. The employee goes to the nearest in-house telephone and pages Code Adam, describing the child’s physical features and clothing. As designated employees monitor front entrances, other employees begin looking for the child.
3. If the child is not found within 10 minutes, law enforcement is called.
4. If the child is found and appears to have been lost and unharmed, the child is reunited with the searching family member.
5. If the child is found accompanied by someone other than a parent or legal guardian, reasonable efforts to delay their departure will be used without putting the child, staff, or visitors at risk. Law enforcement will be notified and given details about the person accompanying the child.
6. The Code Adam page will be cancelled after the child is found or law enforcement arrives.
And it's not just Walmart who participates. Many public places including museums, amusement parks and retail stores voluntarily participate in Code Adam.
Experiencing it myself ...
About 3 years ago, I was in McAllister Mall when they announced CODE ADAM.
Talk about getting the chills, and my 'mommy' mode turning on. (Tears included)
Watching people look, and call this young girl's name.
Watching security guards running from store to store.
Watching the mom, cry and call for her little girl.
She was found in less 5 minutes - the little girl had fell asleep under a clothes rack in a small retail store. But CODE ADAM, had put the mall on stop.
So the next time your at Walmart - you may notice the CODE ADAM sign.
And now, you'll know what it means.
So, if you find yourself in a situation where you are missing a child, tell a staff memeber first. Don't waste crucial time - CODE ADAM could, literally, save a life.
Lisa Garnett is based in the greater Saint John Area, with a studio located in East Saint John.