You may be surprised to learn that Utah’s Amber Alert program has a budget of zero, and it’s been that way for years. There is no state appropriation, and Amber Alert training for police is paid for through donations.
Ed Smart thinks that has to change. The man who successfully pushed for a National Amber Alert system is calling on the governor and legislature to inject state money into the program.
“I think it’s something we have to do,” said Smart. “I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a cost, but I think the benefit is going to be immeasurable.”
In this article States disagree greatly on Amber Alert criteria there are available funds for States to implement or upgrade their AMBER Alert system via The PROTECT Act signed into law in April 2003. The State of Utah is single out as one of the States that displays the history of all the alerts they have activated.
The law set aside $20 million to help establish and shore up state highway alert systems, a token sum that the states — many of which already had programs in place — have been slow to go after. About $4 million remains unclaimed, and 10 states haven’t applied for any of that money.
So why would a State need public donations to support the system? Why not use the unclaimed funds?