Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and KBI Director Kirk Thompson remind Kansans to stay alert when the public’s assistance is needed to help locate missing children. The reminder comes as National Amber Alert Awareness Day is observed tomorrow.
“When a child is abducted, getting detailed information about the incident out to the public as quickly as possible can be critical,” Schmidt said. “The first hours after an abduction are critical, and the watchful eyes of Kansas citizens can help save a child’s life.”
Since its inception in 1996, this national program has successfully brought 910 children home safely. In Kansas, 46 children have been safely returned since 2002. During 2017, three Amber Alerts were issued in Kansas, each resulting in the safe recovery of the abducted children.
“The KBI is grateful for the collaboration of our many public and private sector partners who assist in deploying Amber Alert information at the critical time of a child abduction. We’re also thankful that Kansans are so willing to help in any way possible during an Amber Alert. The core purpose of this program is to focus the public’s attention on helping law enforcement to quickly locate an endangered child, and the past support of our citizens has been extremely valuable,” Thompson said.
The Kansas Amber Alert system is coordinated by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and the KBI. When an alert is issued, the media are notified to begin broadcasting the details of the missing child and suspect. Last year, a complete review of the program was done and report made on steps that will be taken to ensure the reliability of future Amber Alerts. A copy of the Kansas Amber Alert program review is available on the attorney general’s website at http://bit.ly/2kWQSer.
The Amber Alert program, named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, and transportation agencies to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. Broadcasters use the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to air a description of the abducted child and suspected abductor. The goal of an Amber Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child.
In addition to the Amber Alert program, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children maintains a list of all missing children from Kansas. That database can be accessed at www.missingkids.com. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of any of these missing persons should contact a law enforcement agency or call 1-800-KS-CRIME.
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