Who Was Amber?
In 1996, 9-year-old Amber Hagerman disappeared from her Arlington neighborhood while riding her bicycle. A neighbor was able to give some details of the car involved, but no system was in place to get that information to local residents quickly. Amberís body was found four days later.
On August 12, 2002, Governor Rick Perry issued Executive Order Number RP16 implementing a statewide Amber Alert System. The Amber Alert is a missing child response program that utilizes the resources of law enforcement and the media to immediately notify the public when children are abducted by predators. This alert enlists the support of all citizens within a 200-mile radius of the kidnapping and greatly increases the potential for rescuing the child. The KlaasKids Foundation, established by Marc Klaas, father of Polly Klaas who was kidnapped and murdered, reports that kidnappers can travel a mile a minute from the scene of the abduction.
Today, plans are in effect in all 50 states, along with a number of interstate collaborations. Thanks to cooperation among broadcasters; local, state, and federal officials; and citizens in communities across the country, AMBER Alert has become a powerful force in fighting crime.
The Texas Amber Alert Network
The Texas Amber Alert Network provides the stateís law enforcement officers with a mechanism to provide rapid notification of abducted child cases to the media and the public. These alerts encourage the public to report any information about the missing child or the suspect.
The network can by activated only by local law enforcement officers. One call to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will result in a notice being issued over the Texas Association of Broadcastersí Emergency Alert System to television and radio stations within a 200-mile radius of the abduction. DPS will also notify the Texas Department of Transportation to flash messages on state highway signs in the appropriate area warning motorists to watch for the suspectís vehicle. An alert also will be sent to local law enforcement agencies across the state and the appropriate federal agencies.
Local law enforcement agencies also will have a direct connection to a national alert system which will send additional information and a photo to media outlets and major businesses in the search radius.
The Criteria to Issue an AMBER Alert:
If your Child is Missing...
Immediately call your local law enforcement agency and file a missing person report. The first few hours are critical, and there is no 24-hour waiting period to report a missing child in Texas.
Be prepared to provide law enforcement with the most recent photo of the child and a detailed description of what the child was wearing. Include any other identifying information you might have, such as the childís fingerprints or hair sample, and any information about an abductor or suspicious vehicles in the area.
To help protect your child from stranger abductions:
The Texas Amber Alert Network Internet site explains how the Texas system works and offers tips for protecting children.
The U.S. Department of Justice Web site provides information about the national AMBER alert program.
To report information about child pornography, child molestation, child prostitution, and the online enticement of children, visit the CyberTipline.
The Texas Missing Persons Clearinghouse maintains a repository of information on missing and unidentified people and operates a 24-hour toll-free help line, (800) 346-3243. The clearinghouse is a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Beyond Missing is a secure, Internet-based tool designed to give law enforcement the ability to instantaneously create and distribute photo flyers of missing children.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) provides assistance to parents, children, law enforcement, schools, and the community in recovering missing children and raising public awareness about ways to help prevent child abduction, molestation, and sexual exploitation. The center also publishes "Personal Safety for Children: A Guide for Parents" in English and Spanish.
The Polly Klaas Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public on the prevention of child abduction and aiding in the search of missing children.
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Last updated on 02-25-2015
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