Amber Alert investigations stretching local resources

MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. --The alert for 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas and 50-year-old Tad Cummins is now nationwide. In our area, a tremendous amount of attention focused on Decatur, after investigators placed them there early in the search.

While authorities in Morgan County quickly jumped in, an investigation of this scale can tax local resources. Chief Deputy Michael Corley of the Morgan County Sheriff's Office said when it comes to endangered children, they take it extremely seriously.

"We don't hesitate to call on any agency in this situation on missing persons," he said.

Once an Amber Alert is issued, they can get the FBI involved, which is a tremendous help to the investigation.

"We're going to ask them for their resources because there's so much technology out there that some of these other agencies might tap into or be able to help with," said Chief Corley.

But, he said an investigation of this size definitely takes a toll on the initiating agency, and their resources. Chief Corley said it is an all hands on deck situation.

"As far as the in county search, and being attentive to it, it never really stops. You know that is the talk of every shift change briefing, the investigation won't get much of a break," he said.

To help supplement that a little bit, he said one of the biggest resources they have is their citizens.

"You know you just think about how many extra sets of eyes and ears that bring information to us," he explained.

But no matter how taxing this kind of investigation might be, Chief Corley said, it's their job.

"Hey there's no big I's or little you's. Our goal is to serve this community and do the very best we can to resolve this for their loved one," he said.