Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kim Lowry, Amber Alert, DOJ amber alert programs

DOJ Kim Lowry speaks about the

Amber Alert

Rescue Children at Risk (RCR) newsletter applauds the hard work of the Department of Justice in the fight for the protection of our young people.  In a moment, a message from Kim Lowry from the DOJ.  First, a few thoughts.

The Amber Alert program is a crucial program in the network we use to protect the young people of America.  On January 13, 1996, Amber Hagerman was abducted while riding her bicycle near her house.  She was subsequently brutally murdered.  It was speculated if an emergency system to locate abducted children had been in place, perhaps this tragic death might have been prevented.  

After a law enforcement agency determines a child has been abducted and is in imminent danger, the Amber Alert is put out.  The broadcasts include information about the child and abductor that could lead to the apprehension of the abductor and the return of the child to his or her parents.   Details including the physical description of a suspect vehicle, a picture of the missing child and other information is broadcast.  

The AMBER Alert program began in 1996 when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed up with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children.

Amber Alert:

Today is the anniversary of the amber alert program.  The Department of Justice, DOJ, asks all citizens to celebrate the anniversary by assisting law enforcement when an Amber Alert is broadcast.  The following page comes from the DOJ:

The amber alert broadcast program has been so successful it has been extended to a few of the tribal nations.  You can read about them in the following post:

Kim Lowry, who is the communications director for the Office of Justice Programs wrote the following post regarding the program that saves lives.

Tell us Kim!

A message from Kim Lowry, Department of Justice:

There are few things more frightening than the loss of a child. Each year some 800,000 children are reported missing in the United States. Most of these children are not victims of abduction, and, fortunately, most soon return home.

For some, however, their separation will last far longer—even a lifetime. For others, their abduction ends in the most tragic of ways.

The challenges of rescuing endangered missing and abducted children require a determined and coordinated effort. The first hours following a child’s abduction are the most critical. Of the children murdered in stranger abductions, 3 out of 4 are killed within the first three hours.
"Early intervention is crucial"

Early intervention is crucial and provides our best hope of protecting such children and reuniting them with their families. It was for this reason that the AMBER Alert system was initiated 14 years ago today.

Following the 2002 White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children, the PROTECT Act placed the AMBER Alert program under the auspices of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, with its Assistant Attorney General serving as AMBER Alert’s National Coordinator.

As a national effort, the program coordinates media, law enforcement, and transportation agencies’ efforts to notify the public about missing children in the critical first hours following their abduction.
"every state, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have AMBER Alert plans" 
I am pleased to report that every state, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have AMBER Alert plans, and we are working hard to extend the program’s outreach.

Scores of tribal communities are developing their own AMBER Alert plans and programs and we have worked closely with Canada and Mexico to expand AMBER Alert efforts across our nation’s northern and southern borders.

The Department of Justice is committed to protecting our children and their families. Thanks to the collaboration of AMBER Alert’s partners and the timely response of concerned citizens to its alerts, 495 children have been returned to their families and homes.

AMBER Alerts are of course only a piece of what the Department of Justice does to protect children. Today, the Department announced the appointment of Francey Hakes to serve as the National Coordinator for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, a position created by Congress in the Protect Our Children Act of 2008.

I invite you to visit the AMBER Alert Web site to learn how you can help.

Thanks, Kim! 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Here are some Amber Alert success stories!

The Amber Alert program is growing and expanding.  There is now the Secondary Amber Alert program, a program developed by the DOJ. 

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), which is directed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which coordinates the AMBER Alert on a national level, is developing the AMBER Alert Secondary Distribution System. This system was designed to expand AMBER Alert activations for local police and state law enforcement.

Law enforcement agencies now can use many additional methods to alert citizens.  First, the NCMEC is notified.  The NCMEC then sends the Alert to all NCMEC approved Secondary Distributors.  This allows law enforcement more time to concentrate on investigating the case.  

There are many secondary distributors.  They include any authorized wireless carrier, content providers, and major retailers. To qualify as a distributor of the Amber Alert, the secondary distributor must have the capability to distribute AMBER Alert messages to a geographically targeted area at the request of law enforcement.  

Secondary methods of distribution assist in the overall goal of the AMBER Alert program – to immediately notify as many people as possible about recent child abductions, and provide them with information that can help in the search for the abducted child, suspected abductor, or suspected vehicle.
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Thanks for reading RESCUE CHILDREN AT RISK, and remember, always ask, where are your children tonight?

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