In January, law enforcement agencies across the country will recognize the collaborative efforts and successes of a program that assists in the recovery of abducted children. National AMBER Alert Awareness Day will be observed on Jan. 13, 2009.
"AMBER Alert has helped to rescue hundreds of children from abductors and return them safely to their homes," said Jeffrey L. Sedgwick, National AMBER Alert coordinator. "Thanks to cooperation among law enforcement agencies, the media, transportation officials, public and private partners and concerned citizens, the AMBER Alert system has become part of America's public safety landscape."
The AMBER Alert program, which was created after the 1996 abduction and murder of a 9-year-old girl in Arlington, Texas, activates an urgent bulletin for serious child abduction cases. Using the information broadcasted through the bulletin, community members can assist law enforcement agencies in recovering missing children.
Local community members can assist law enforcement with child abduction recovery through the AMBER Alert program by signing up for wireless alerts at www.wirelessamberalerts.org.
Cell phone subscribers capable of receiving text messages can also register on their wireless carrier's website. Wireless users designate up to five zip codes from which they would like to be alerted in the case of an AMBER Alert activation.
Alerts, which are also broadcast on local television and radio stations, include a description of the abducted child and the suspected abductor. Alerts also often include information on the suspect's vehicle.
Individuals who spot a child, adult or vehicle fitting the AMBER Alert description are asked to call the telephone number given in the alert and provide law enforcement agents with as much information about the sighting as possible.
AMBER stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. It was created in 1997 when Dallas, Texas, and Fort Worth, Texas, broadcasters partnered with local law enforcement agencies to develop an early warning system.
There are over 100 AMBER Alert Plans nationwide, including 28 regional plans. Plans have also been established in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The AMBER Alert program has helped rescue more than 425 children since it was initiated.