Sheriff Talks Amber Alerts, School Check-Outs

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The recent kidnapping of a local child has raised some concerns about the process of issuing an Amber Alert and the process of checking students out of school.

6-year old Jashayla Hopson was taken from East Kemper Elementary School around noon on Tuesday, according to Kemper County Sheriff James Moore. The sheriff says while his office acted appropriately, there are steps to issuing an Amber Alert and unfortunately, it wasn't issued until hours after Jashayla was taken.

"I think that's a process that needs to be looked at because the information was sent in a very timely manner. It's just that, that the Amber Alert to be issued, comes directly from the state and when they do their process, whatever that process is. And by the time that Amber Alert was put out, it was very much too late. It should have been done hours ago."

He tells Newscenter 11 he will be working with the state to hopefully avoid another situation like the one on Thursday. He says that's not the only process that needs to be examined further.

"Well, first of all, I think the school again needs to look at their process of getting kids out of school," Moore adds. "For parents, grandparents, whoever, adults. Make sure you talk to your children. Let them know about strangers."

Kemper County School Superintendent Jackie Pollock told our Andrea Williams this past week that the district is currently conducting an internal investigation to determine if the school's check-out policies and procedures were violated. In the meantime, Sheriff Moore says he is grateful Jashayla is back with her family.

"And from my understanding, this is our only true, real live, actual kidnapping that has taken place in Kemper County," he points out. "And kidnappings are not an everyday crime. They just don't happen that often at all."

Jesse Pollard, Wanda Dancy, and Shamarius Ruffin are all three charged with the kidnapping of Jashayla Hopson. They are in federal custody in Madison.