On Monday Texas Gov. Rick Perry established the Texas Amber Alert Network to provide the state with a rapid and comprehensive tool to track abducted children and return them to safety. “Every minute counts when a child is abducted,” Perry said. “There is no more urgent cause than that of finding an innocent, abducted child and returning that child to their loved ones.”
The Texas Amber Alert Network, created by an executive order of the Governor, is a cooperative program involving the Governor’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Texas Association of Broadcasters.
The Governor emphasized that the statewide network will work in coordination with local systems already in place in some Texas cities. The Texas Amber Alert Network will allow information regarding a child abduction to reach law enforcement agencies and broadcast media outlets beyond existing local Amber Alert systems.
When a local law enforcement officer activates the plan, DPS will issue a notice of the Emergency Alert System to key television and radio stations, which will then relay the alert to broadcast outlets within a 200-mile radius of the kidnapping. DPS also will alert other law enforcement agencies of the abduction and will notify TxDOT to flash messages on electronic highway signs in the appropriate area warning motorists to watch for the suspect’s vehicle.
The Governor’s Office also will ensure that every police department and sheriff’s office in the state has access to an Internet-based system, BeyondMissing.com , that will send additional information and a photo of the child to media outlets, law enforcement agencies and private partners within the search zone.
“As a state, we are committed to ensuring the safety of our children from the predators who would harm them,” Perry said. “The Texas Amber Alert Network is a new, statewide tool that will make the tracking of abducted children more thorough and comprehensive.”
Perry added that the Governor’s Office will pay the fee to connect local law enforcement agencies to BeyondMissing.com and is working with the Texas Sheriffs’ Association and the Texas Police Chiefs’ Association to get local agencies signed up for the service.
The Amber Alert concept, credited for helping save the lives of two teenagers kidnapped in California earlier this month, originated in Texas after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman was kidnapped from her Arlington home in 1996 and murdered. A neighbor was able to provide some details of a car believed to be involved in the abduction; however, no system was in place to get that information to the public quickly. After Amber’s death, local residents worked with area radio stations to develop the Amber Alert.
Since that time, Amber Alert plans have been credited with helping to safely recover 21 children across the nation, according the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
In Texas, the criteria to issue an alert will be made by local law enforcement officers using the following criteria:
To read more about the Texas Amber Alert Network just (click here).