January 13 is National AMBER Alert Awareness Day. The day, named by the U.S. Department of Justice, is meant to remind Americans that AMBER Alerts are an important tool in recovering children who have been abducted.
AMBER stands for America’s Mission: Broadcast Emergency Response and was named for nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and murdered in Arlington, Texas, in 1996.
Members of the general public can sign up to receive AMBER Alerts via text messages on their wireless telephones by visiting www.wirelessamberalerts.org. The wireless industry has partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children www.missingkids.com to provide this service.
Police and media representatives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area created the AMBER Alert program shortly after Amber Hagerman’s death and it was used successfully for several years in the metroplex area before the Statewide Texas AMBER Alert Network went into effect in August 2002. The state plan is meant to complement, not replace, local and regional plans.
Activation of the Texas AMBER Alert Network is a massive cooperative effort involving:
• Texas Department of Public Safety;
•Office of the Governor;
•National Weather Service;
•Texas Department of Transportation;
•Local, state and federal law enforcement;
•Texas Association of Broadcasters;
•Independent Bankers Association of Texas;
•Texas Lottery Commission;
•The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) was added as a state partner in 2005, providing notification to the public through wireless carriers, content providers and major retailers.
Since the Texas Amber Alert Network’s creation in 2002, DPS has issued 56 state-involved AMBER Alerts, and 64 of the 68 children who were featured in these AMBER Alerts have been safely recovered.
If your child is missing:
• Immediately call your local law enforcement agency to file a missing persons report.
•Be prepared to provide law enforcement with the most recent photo of the child, a detailed description of what the child was wearing and any other information that could help identify the child or the abductor, such as vehicle and license plate information.
Federal public service announcements regarding the AMBER Alert program can be found on the U.S. Department of Justice website at http://www.amberalert.gov/