When a child goes missing, many parents believe an AMBER Alert will automatically be issued. Others understand there are specific criteria which have to be met.
In this case, according to KARE11, there was not enough information to issue an AMBER Alert so a Minnesota Crime Alert was issued instead.
“In this case we determined the way to get the information out to the public fast would be to issue a Minnesota Crime Alert,” says Janell Rasmussen, Minnesota’s Amber Alert Coordinator at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
A Minnesota Crime Alert is sent to every media outlet and law enforcement agency in the state, plus 10,000 businesses.
It’s different from an Amber Alert, which includes messages on highway billboards and a message broadcast regularly on radio and T.V. stations.
There is no immediate indication that an AMBER Alert would have saved this child. The case does illustrate one of the common issues when a child goes missing. A human decision has to made whether an AMBER Alert should be issued which may result in delays, or worse not be activated at all.
In Arkansas, the Alert can be either a Morgan Nick Amber Alert Level I or Level II which alters the distribution path of the information based on which one is chosen.
Experts agree, time is critical when a child is missing. Is it time to rethink how the information reaches the public?
A parent’s worst nightmare is a child abduction. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 74 percent of children who were abducted and later found murdered were killed within three hours of being taken. Quick response is vital.
Should the various missing children clearinghouses be pushing to have all missing child alerts sent to other secondary channels such as wireless devices, pc’s and not just having people register to receive AMBER Alerts?
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has declared Amber Alerts sparingly – 18 times – since the state adopted the program in 2002, said Janell Rasmussen, the bureau’s Amber Alert coordinator.