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FDLE Commemorates National AMBER Alert Awareness Day

 


Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey joined Florida’s local, state, federal, and private partners today to commemorate National AMBER Alert Awareness Day. Each year, on Jan. 13, the U.S. Department of Justice remembers the abduction and brutal murder of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman that occurred 16 years ago in Texas, and for whom the AMBER plan was named.

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

In 2003, the Missing Child Alert was established as a compliment to the AMBER Alert as a standardized method to request public assistance when a child is missing and their life is believed to be endangered, but there is no indication of abduction.

Each year, approximately 40,000 children are reported missing in Florida, with the majority of those being reported as runaways. The FDLE Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse issued seven AMBER Alerts and 13 Missing Child Alerts in 2011. Since the program’s inception, 163 AMBER Alerts have been issued in Florida and 54 children have been located as a direct result.
 
“Florida’s citizens, governmental agencies and private businesses have been key to the success of the Florida AMBER Plan,” Commissioner Bailey said.   “We encourage Florida residents to take a few moments today to learn more about the Florida AMBER Alert so that they can help law enforcement better protect Florida’s children.”
 
In May, an 18-month-old abducted from Washington County, Fla. was reunited with his mother when Robert Biggs, a truck driver in Kentucky, reported seeing a vehicle that matched the AMBER Alert. The alert, which had been initially activated in Florida, was expanded to Tennessee when evidence placed the abductor in Nashville. Mr. Biggs took note of the AMBER Alert broadcast and contacted the Kentucky State Police who took the abductor into custody. Mr. Biggs was named Citizen of the Year at Florida Missing Children’s Day in September in appreciation of his efforts.
 
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.
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. or visit FDLE’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/FDLEpage.
For Further Information or to schedule an interview regarding Amber Alert Awareness Day Contact:
Gretl Plessinger, Keith Kameg or Kristi Gordon
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001