Tallahassee, FL -January 13, 2013
Whether it's the pictures of missing children flashing across billboards on our roadways, alerts over the radio or even in an email blast, Amber Alerts are hard to miss.
"The Amber Alert has made a huge difference in law enforcement's ability to find abducted children," says Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
January 13 is national Amber Alert Awareness Day. This year marks the 17th anniversary of the death and abduction of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Texas. She's the girl who the system is now named for and whose death and abduction the U.S. Department of Justice remembers on this day.
According to an FDLE release, Florida established its Amber Alert Plan 13 years ago. It was the second state in the nation to do so. Since its inception, the system has evolved into carrying alerts on the local news, radio, even online. It's the wide net these alerts cast that law enforcement says helps with the search.
"So it's like having thousands of eyes, all at once looking for this child," says Plessinger
When it comes to keeping your child safe, law enforcement says don't leave them with strangers, don't write their name where others may see it and teach them to find a trusting adult, like a police officer, if they do get lost.
All this week, FDLE's Facebook page is offering tips for parents while encouraging people to sign up for its free Amber Alerts through its website.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Release
Tallahassee, FL- Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey joined Florida’s local, state, federal and private partners today to commemorate National AMBER Alert Awareness Day.
Each year, on Jan. 13, the U.S. Department of Justice remembers the abduction and brutal murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman that occurred seventeen years ago in Texas.
More than 20,000 citizens have signed up at www.missingchildrenalert.com to receive Florida AMBER Alerts via e-mail.
FDLE encourages citizens to sign up to receive these free alerts to help law enforcement quickly recover children when they go missing.
“Florida’s citizens have been vital to the success of the Florida AMBER Plan,” Commissioner Bailey said. “We encourage Floridians to take a few moments today to sign up to receive AMBER Alert notifications so they can help law enforcement better protect Florida’s children.”
Each year, approximately 40,000 children are reported missing in Florida, with the majority of those being reported as runaways. The FDLE Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse issued nine AMBER Alerts and 31 Missing Child Alerts in 2012.
FDLE in conjunction with the Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Association of Broadcasters, Inc., established the Florida AMBER Plan in 2000. Florida was the second state in the nation to take the partnership for AMBER Alerts statewide.
Since that time, the AMBER Plan has expanded to include billboards, dynamic highway message signs and lottery machines.