FirstNet Helps Reunite Lost Parents and Children in Kansas City

Craig Unruh – President, AT&T Arkansas and Missouri
April 18, 2023
Public Safety

FirstNet Helps Reunite Lost Parents and Children in Kansas City

As Kansas City prepared to celebrate another pro football championship with a large-scale parade and rally event, organizers knew that children being separated from their parents was inevitable.

The initial game plan called for officers to use a designated radio channel to broadcast descriptions of the children or the parents. But, in a crowd of hundreds of thousands, with virtually everyone wearing red or a team jersey, success was rare.

When parents could not be quickly located, the children were brought to 1 of 5 locations where detectives and social workers provided snacks and games while attempting to contact parents.

Detective Shamell Slatton, an 8-year veteran of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, quickly realized the task was easier said than done.

“We were running into issues contacting their parents because there were so many people in the area and nearly everyone seemed to be on their phones,” she said. “So I took my personal FirstNet phone and we were able to get through much better. Sometimes the parents would get knocked off the connection on their end, but we would just call back.”

FirstNet®, Built with AT&T is the only network built with and for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. It equips first responders with new capabilities and reliable access to critical information while in the field, allowing public safety to better serve communities across the country.

Over the course of several hours, the teams at Slatton’s location reunited parents with five children, who ranged in age from 6 to 14.

“Once we made contact, we would go out on the parade route,” she said. “When we saw someone waving to us, we would ask the child if they knew the person and who they were. That way we could confirm we had the right parents.”

While her shift eventually stretched more than 12 hours, Slatton said it was rewarding.

“I couldn’t imagine being a parent and losing my child,” she said. “I was glad to have FirstNet because it made it a whole lot easier for us to reconnect the kiddos with their parents.”



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