When President Bush signed the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today PROTECT Act into law in April 2003, it statutorily established the national AMBER Alert™ Coordinator role. Why is there an AMBER Alert Coordinator position if apparently it remains open?
“There will never be a federal Amber czar,” said Jeffrey L. Sedgwick, an assistant attorney general at the Justice Department who nevertheless spends part of his time as national coordinator for the Amber Alert network. He’s the third person to fill that role since the position was created five years ago.
You often hear of Nationwide AMBER Alerts being issued but if they are, who makes the decision to activate them?
The National AMBER Alert coordinator is responsible for assisting state and local officials with developing and enhancing AMBER plans, and promoting statewide and regional coordination among plans. The AMBER Alert coordinator is tasked to:
- Facilitate AMBER network development
- Support development of state AMBER plans and efforts
- Help eliminate geographic gaps in AMBER networks
- Provide regional AMBER network coordination
- Establish guidance on criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert
There is however a National Strategy according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.
The National AMBER Alert Coordinator, in collaboration with a national advisory group, developed a strategy for supporting states and communities to strengthen the AMBER Alert System nationwide and increase the likelihood that abducted children will be recovered swiftly and safely. The three components of the national AMBER strategy are:
- Assess Current AMBER Activity
Determine number of local, statewide, and regional plans
Compare plan operations and AMBER Alert criteria
Evaluate available technology
- Create a Coordinated AMBER Network
Develop guidance on criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert
Establish federal, state, and local partnerships
Promote technological compatibility among communications systems
- Communicate Lessons Learned
Work with law enforcement and broadcasters on missing children issues and the proper issuance of AMBER Alerts
Help states and communities develop and enhance their AMBER plans
Raise public awareness on how to protect children and prevent abductions