Jan. 13, 2007 was AMBER Alert Awareness Day and the Kentucky State Police (KSP) joined law enforcement agencies nationwide to promote public participation in this emergency notification system designed to help locate missing and abducted children.
“The AMBER Alert is a team effort involving law enforcement, broadcast news media and the public. This cooperation makes it an extremely effective tool in protecting our most innocent citizens,” said Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who issued a proclamation designating January 13 as AMBER Alert Day in Kentucky. “I urge all Kentuckians to participate in this noble effort to protect our children.”
AMBER Alert, which stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, was named in honor of the nine-year-old Texas girl who was kidnapped in 1996 while riding her bicycle near her home and later found murdered. It uses radio and television news broadcasts and Web-based technology to provide immediate and detailed information about the victim and perpetrator.
“Time is the enemy when it comes to finding missing children,” says KSP Maj. Mitch Bailey, coordinator of the state’s AMBER Alert system, which, he says, “allows more people to know what to look for and where.”
According to Bailey, since 2003, Kentucky has had 14 AMBER Alerts involving 17 children, all of whom were located unharmed.
Kentucky’s AMBER Alert system was activated in 2003 to relay emergency information to law enforcement and rescue officials and to broadcasters of television and radio. In 2005, the system became even more accessible to citizens with the addition of the AMBER Alert Portal, which includes cell phones, beepers and e-mail, as well as other forms of electronic communication. Currently, Kentucky has almost 12,000 subscribers to the portal.
Information provided through the portal includes a description of the alleged abductor, the vehicle and license plate number and a description of the abducted child. The portal also maintains a geo-specific map on its Web site showing an expanding area of interest based on the fastest driving routes from the abduction site.
Citizens may subscribe to the portal at www.Kentucky.AMBERAlert.com to receive free alert notifications.
“Public awareness plays a key role in making the AMBER Alert system work,” notes KSP Commissioner Jack Adams. “Armed with the proper information, private citizens can multiply the eyes and ears of law enforcement and contribute to the successful recovery of missing and abducted children. The greater the citizen participation, the greater our chances of finding an abducted child.”