Ambert Alert and Libel

Georgia Gov. Sonny Purdue sees one potential problem with the system. Gov. Purdue doesn't have a problem with the Amber system, but he is concerned that if a person is wrongly accused of abducting or kidnapping a child, broadcasters could be held liable.

In the wake of the successful recovery of three abducted Georgia girls, Gov. Sonny Purdue wants broadcasters in Georgia to be shielded from lawsuits, if for example the wrong name of an abductor is put out.

"When we don't have credible evidence, linking someone to a crime, usually that name isn't put out into the public," says LT John Bagnardi.

LT Bagnardi with the Florida Highway Patrol says in Florida, an abductor's name really isn't that important in an Amber Alert, but the recent case in Georgia was an exception.

"They pretty much knew who that person was, to my understanding, there were witnesses, they had evidence, and that's why they went ahead and broadcast the name," says LT Bagnardi.

Pat Roberts chairs the State Emergency Communication Committee and believes the check and balance system of other state Amber Alert programs may cause certain flaws as it relates to the release of accurate information, and so he is sympathetic to Gov. Purdue's concern.

"He may have some legitimate concerns, that in the speed of getting information out without taking the time, but in Florida, we've got it down to less than an our, but if your not careful, and start letting local law enforcement do it all, you could have a problem them," says Pat Roberts.

Roberts went on to say that Florida has a pretty good chain of command when every an Amber Alert is activated. It starts at the investigative level, and whatever information they gather it goes to FDLE and that's when the broadcasters and other area law enforcement and members of the public are notified.


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