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FDLE Commemorates National AMBER Alert Awareness Day

 
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 14 years ago in Texas, and for whom the AMBER plan was named after.

More than 30,000 citizens have signed up at www.missingchildrenalert.com to receive Florida AMBER Alerts via e-mail and cell phone text messages. FDLE encourages citizens to sign up to receive these free alerts to help law enforcement quickly recover a child when they go missing.

“Signing up for Amber Alerts is a small act that has tremendous lifesaving potential,” Commissioner Bailey said. “Time is of the essence in these cases and we hope every Floridian will help the search by having Amber Alerts sent directly to their phones and desktops. Tips from the public often provide the piece of information needed to locate 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 47,000 children are reported missing in Florida, with the majority of those being reported as runaways. The FDLE Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse issued 12 AMBER Alerts in 2009. Since the program’s inception in 2000, 149 AMBER Alerts have been issued and 51 children have been located as a direct result.

Today, the U. S. Department of Justice also kicked off their annual 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. For more information on the poster contest, visit http://ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/programs/postercontest/

To learn more about Florida’s AMBER Plan or to sign up to receive alerts, visit www.missingchildrenalert.com or www.fdle.state.fl.us.

For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Kristen Chernosky or Mike Morrison
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001