Bill changes Amber Alert criteria - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/1/09

Bill changes Amber Alert criteria

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - An alleged kidnapping in Lubbock sparks change in Austin.

Improvements to the state's Amber Alert system are underway. The house passed a bill Thursday that would expand the scope of the system. Lubbock Representative Carl Isett co-authored the Amber Alert Improvement Bill which expands the circumstances for when an Amber Alert is issued.

House Bill 3385 allows law enforcement to issue Amber Alert for children in danger of becoming victims of sexual assault. It covers situations where a child under 14 is taken willingly but without parental consent by a person who is more than three years older and is not a relative. 

One of the reasons for the bill, the incident in October where police say Kenneth Wilcox took three Lubbock children to Oklahoma. The Lubbock Police Department's request for an Amber Alert was denied by the state because certain criteria were not met.

Captain Greg Stevens with the Lubbock Police Department says they still got the job done, the old fashioned way, by calling other law enforcement agencies. "The system can't be wide open otherwise you could just throw amber alerts out left and right and they would lose their impact. And so the authorities have to be selective in what actually constitutes the need for an Amber Alert," says Stevens.

Stevens adds that the system can always be improved and this is one step.

The Amber Alert Bill still requires Senate approval before becoming law.

Texas Amber Alert Updates
Read more about missing children in the state of Texas. Also learn more about what you can teach your children about abductions.

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