Many online sources available about protecting our children from predators

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Recently, members of the Luverne Police Department and Victim Service Officer Janet Leigh Nichols attended a conference at Auburn University in Montgomery.

The title of the conference was, &#8220Missing and Abducted Children-Lessons Learned.”

Among the guest speakers were:

Marc Klaas with the KlaasKids Foundation. Marc founded the KlaasKids Foundation in 1994 following the abduction and murder of his daughter Polly Klaas.

During a slumber party in October of 1993, 12-year-old Polly was abducted at knifepoint from her Petaluma, California, home.

Thousands of residents from the surrounding community immediately responded with the largest manhunt in American history. For more information about KlaasKids, one can go to their website at www.

Erin Runnion was also present to tell her story. On July 15, 2002, her daughter, five-year-old Samantha Runnion, was abducted and murdered.

Thousands of community volunteers converged on their neighborhood to initiate a massive search.

Erin founded the Joyful Child Foundation in memory of her daughter Samantha Runnion and has dedicated her life to teaching our children to &#8220Be Brave.”

For more information on this foundation one can go to their website at

Also, Tamara Brooks was there to tell her story of how she survived abduction. There wasn't a dry eye in the building.

On July 31, 2002, Tamara Brooks, along with another woman, was abducted in Quartz Hill, California, at gunpoint.

Tamara endured more than 16 hours with her captor and never gave up hope.

She and the other young woman fought to escape and were recovered after the first ever Amber Alert was issued in California.

Since that time, she has become an advocate for the Amber Alert Program and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by speaking to members of Congress and industry leaders at various conferences.

Ms. Brooks ended her speech with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, which gave everyone

proof of her wonderful fighting spirit.

The quote reads as follows:

&#8220It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Ms Brooks continues the fight as she is currently pursuing her college degree.

No one's child should ever have to suffer at the hands of a childhood predator. We as a nation need to come together to stop these predators.

There is no rehabilitation for child predators.

The only place for them is behind bars.

If anyone has a strong interest in keeping these predators away from our children, one can go to The Alabama Bureau of Investigation Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Web site at

Parents can go to this Web site and find information on how to keep their children safe, how to submit a crime tip, and how to report internet crime.

This Web site offers much more as well.

Educating ourselves and our children is imperative in today's society.

If you have any questions or comments please contact, Janet Nichols, Victim Service Officer with the Luverne Police Department at (334) 335-2921.