Troopers recognized for role in amber alert

Melanie Stallsworth, left, and Kristen Bartles, right, are communications operators with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop H.

Two communication operators with Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop H are being recognized for their roles in saving a child.

Melanie Stallsworth, communications operator III, and Kristen Bartles, communications operator I, took a call on March 15 from the St. Joseph Communication Center about an armed home invasion and abduction of a child.

“We got the information and gave it to Troop F to make contact directly with the St. Joseph (Police Department) to get an amber alert issued, which resulted in the child being returned,” Bartles said.

According to an article from the Missouri Chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, three men entered the home, took a two-year-old at gunpoint, and fled the scene.

Bartles said she learned the importance of quick action involving amber alerts in a radio academy in Jefferson City, Missouri.

“While I was down there, we had an assistant chief operator from Troop F come to speak with my class, basically saying, in the event of any kind of possible alert, notify them immediately,” Bartles said.

Stallsworth pointed out that a quick-thinking witness was also crucial in this case.

“‘See something, say something,’ and they did. And (the witness) said something, while they were there witnessing it happen, they got great information. So that information could quickly go out to officers,” Stallsworth said.

This incident also brings the role of communication operators to light, which is an integral part of law enforcement, Stallsworth said.

“This is a job. This is law enforcement ... you don’t have to carry a gun, you don’t have to be out in the field. You can still serve our public; you can still serve law enforcement and not be one of the guys on the front line,” Stallsworth said.

Maykayla Hancock can be reached at Follow her on Twitter: @NPNowHancock.

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