Amber Alert recalls local connection

Published 2:01 am Friday, May 20, 2005

By Staff
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) applauded Thursday's unveiling of a new wireless AMBER Alert initiative that will promptly notify wireless subscribers of a child's abduction in their immediate vicinity.
Recognizing their unique ability to provide timely assistance to law enforcement in these unfortunate situations, the wireless industry and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children partnered to launch the initiative that will help galvanize 182-million wireless subscribers in the search for an abducted child.
Statistics show that when a child is abducted, the first three hours are the most critical to recovering the child alive.
The Amber Alert is an important tool for law enforcement officials nationwide in searching for missing children. The 2003 case of Cass County's Lindsey Ryan is an AMBER Alert success story.
An observant Frito-Lay truck driver noticed the vehicle that Lindsey Ryan was last seen in from details given by California's Amber Alert. After 24 days, Lindsey Ryan was finally found safe and alive.
But delays in implementing the Amber Alert in states surrounding Michigan caused law enforcement officials to lose valuable time and Lindsey was half way across the country when the Alerts outside Michigan were finally issued.
With the new wireless alert system, information detailing an abduction will be disseminated within minutes.
Any wireless subscriber capable of receiving text messages, and whose wireless carrier participates in the Wireless AMBER Alerts Initiative, may opt in to receive alerts by registering at or their wireless carrier's website.
Subscribers may designate up to five geographic areas for which they would like to receive Wireless AMBER Alerts. The link is also posted on Upton's website at
AMBER stands for "America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response" and was created in 1997 when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to find abducted children.
The AMBER Alert Program was soon adopted across the nation and is a legacy to Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and then murdered. All 50 states have since established AMBER Alert programs.
President Bush authorized the national AMBER Alert program as part of the PROTECT Act signed on April 30, 2003. The law formally established the federal government's role in the AMBER Alert program, appointing the Department of Justice (DOJ) as the agency responsible for coordinating AMBER Alerts on the national level.
Wireless AMBER Alerts may serve as a preventative tool as well. People who prey on innocent children should now think twice before carrying out their malicious acts, knowing that almost any cell phone owner they pass could identify perpetrators and have access to the immediate means to guide law enforcement officials to their location.
Wireless carriers participating in today's launch include ALLTEL, Cingular Wireless, Dobson Communications, Nextel Communications, RCC/Unicel, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. Additional carriers are expected to participate.
The Communications Department at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children may be reached at (703) 837-6111.