News


FDLE and Partners Commemorate National AMBER Alert Awareness Day

1/13/2009
 
~Citizens Encouraged to Signup to Receive Alerts Via Phone and E-Mail~

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner (FDLE) Gerald Bailey joined Florida’s local, state, federal, and private partners today to commemorate National AMBER Alert Awareness Day. Each year, on January 13, the U.S. Department of Justice remembers the abduction and brutal murder of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman that occurred 13 years ago in Texas, and for whom the AMBER plan was named after.

More than 19,000 citizens have signed up at www.missingchildrenalert.com to receive AMBER Alerts via e-mail and cell phone text messages. There is no charge to receive alerts.

“In today’s world everyone has technology at their fingertips,” said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “We’re asking Floridians to sign up today to help law enforcement save lives. Our goal is to send out an alert that reaches every person in this state and enlists them in the search for an abducted child.”

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.

Each year, approximately 49,000 children are reported missing in Florida, with the majority of those being runaways. In 2008, the FDLE Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse issued 12 AMBER Alerts. Since the program’s inception in 2000, 137 AMBER Alerts have been issued and 45 children have been located as a direct result.

Today, the U. S. Department of Justice also kicked off the Missing Children Poster Contest. The annual contest invites fifth-grade students to develop artwork that focuses on bringing missing children home safely. The winning artwork will be displayed at the National Missing Children’s Day ceremony in May in Washington, D.C.
The Florida Department of Lottery will also be commemorating the day by displaying an AMBER Alert awareness message on their 13,000 lottery machines statewide.


For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith or Kristen Perezluha
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001