“We don’t want to desensitize the public by using it needlessly,” said Robert Hover of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “We want to protect the program, but obviously the scales should always tip in favor of the child.”
There are approximately 116 different Amber Alert systems with the criteria for activating an AMBER Alert often varying between jurisdictions (State/Regional/Local).
There is a primary AMBER Alert which law enforcement issues, typically via the Highway Patrol for each state, followed by a redistributed one to secondary distributors such as online service providers and wirelss carriers. The information is then sent to media affiliates designated as primary stations under the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The primary stations send the same information to area radio and television stations and cable systems via the EAS, and it is then immediately broadcast by participating stations. The secondary alert may be delayed based on how quickly the redistribution takes place or who is responsible for the process. For example, Texas uses Beyond Missing for alerts while other states may use the NCMEC. Visit each site and you are likely to see different active AMBER Alerts. Some use secondary providers such as Code AMBER, or AMBERAlert but, depending on your State’s participation, you may or may not receive the alert.
Many States have passed Silver Alert, Gold Alert and Blue Alerts with all using some components of the AMBER Alert system; media outlets, highway signs, electronic billboards. If the concern is protecting the program, why the alerts? In most States, more Silver Alerts are anticipated to be issued than AMBER Alerts annually due to more lenient criteria.
Missing or endangered child alerts are issued almost daily throughout the country but you seldom hear about the child. It may account for why there are so many unsolved missing children cases listed at the NCMEC. There is currently an Endangered Alert from Code Amber News Service (CANS), (a secondary provider of alerts) for missing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu but it is important to note that it is not an AMBER Alert. There may be currently active alerts which are not on the Code Amber Ticker.
TYLER, Texas — East Texas law officers have a new Amber Alert system to use when a child goes missing from their area.
Under the regional system, officers can send information about child abductions to a center in Longview, which will then dispatch the information to radio and television stations via the Emergency Alert System. The regional system to be used in 14 counties supplements the statewide Amber Alert program. Seventeen other regional systems have been established in Texas.
For the statewide system to be activated, detectives must believe the child is in danger of serious injury or death. In the regional system, officers can also consider whether a child might be a sexual assault victim, under the age of 14 or with a nonfamily member who is at least three years older.
Supporters say the new system is faster than the state Amber Alert program, which filters information through Austin, then through the governor’s division of emergency management before it is determined if an alert is warranted. The alerts are then issued through the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“The state system may take an hour or more to do, and, by that time, someone from Longview would be in Louisiana,” Harry Goodan, training coordinator at the Longview Public Safety Communications Center, said in a story for Wednesday’s online edition of the Tyler Morning Telegraph.