California joins together with other states from across the country in recognition of National AMBER Alert Awareness Day on Sunday, Jan. 13. The occasion is a time to acknowledge the collaborative efforts and successes of the AMBER Alert program in assisting in the recovery of abducted children.
In California, more than 200 AMBER Alerts have been issued since the inception of the program in summer 2002. These vital notifications have resulted in the safe recovery of more than 240 children, according to the California Highway Patrol, which serves as the statewide coordinator for the AMBER Alert program and other emergency response activities associated with child abduction.
“When it comes to the swift, safe recovery of a child, AMBER Alerts have proven time and time again to be a lifesaver,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Working together, law enforcement, the media, the public and other government entities have been responsible for reuniting hundreds of children with their families.”
The AMBER Alert program was created in 1996 after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Texas was abducted and later found murdered. The program evolved from a local network of radio broadcasters to include programs in all 50 states.
During the past decade, California’s AMBER Alert notification network has continued to grow. In addition to the activation of the Emergency Alert System by the National Weather Service, there are now numerous ways to reach the public with critical information about a child’s abduction. Through the use of the California Department of Transportation’s changeable message signs on freeways, Wireless Emergency Alerts, social media and the California State Lottery, AMBER Alerts can now reach millions of people throughout the state within minutes.
“An AMBER Alert is a tool we never want to have to use,” Farrow added. “However, when the circumstances arise, and thanks to the cooperative effort of many, the program has proven that it works and children’s lives are being saved.”