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For More Information Contact:
Capt. David Jude
(502) 782-1780

AMBER Alert Program Marks 10 Years In Operation

KSP offers tips to help prevent child abductions

Date of News Release: 01/07/2008

(Frankfort, KY) - AMBER Alert Awareness Day is Sunday, Jan.13 and the Kentucky State Police is urging all Kentuckians to participate in this emergency notification system designed to help locate abducted children.

In 2007, five AMBER Alerts were activated in Kentucky. All of the children were located unharmed.

"Amber Alerts form a powerful, national network that is one of the most effective tools employed to protect children," says Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer. "Since its start in 1998, the system has proven its worth by contributing to the safe return of nearly 400 children throughout the U.S."

AMBER Alert, which stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, was named in honor of a nine-year-old Texas girl, who was kidnapped in 1996 near her home and later found murdered. It uses radio and television news broadcasts and web-based technology to provide immediate and detailed information about the victim and abductor.

"Time is critical when it comes to finding abducted children," says KSP Major Mitch Bailey, coordinator of Kentucky's AMBER Alert system. "When a child's life is in danger, spreading the word quickly can often mean the difference between life and death."

According to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, 74 percent of children who are kidnapped and later found murdered are killed within the first three hours after being abducted. "That's why public participation in the AMBER Alert system is so important," says Bailey. "It increases the 'eyes and ears' of law enforcement over a wide area."

The AMBER Alert program also acts a deterrent, notes Bailey. It sends a strong message to predators that crimes against children are intolerable and that communities have the power to mobilize great resources and concentrate efforts to rescue abducted children and apprehend their abductors.

"If you witness a child abduction, call 9-1-1 immediately to report it quickly," adds Bailey. "Be sure to make note of important information such as the physical characteristics of the child and suspect, the make and model of any vehicles involved, including license plate numbers if possible, and the precise location of the abduction."

Kentucky's AMBER Alert system was activated in 2003 to relay emergency information to law enforcement and rescue officials and to broadcasters of television and radio. Since then, Kentucky has had 19 AMBER Alerts involving 25 children, all of whom were located unharmed.

In 2005, the system became even more accessible to citizens with the addition of the AMBER Alert Portal, which includes cell phones, beepers and e-mail, as well as other forms of electronic communication. Currently, Kentucky has almost 12,000 subscribers to the Portal.

Information provided through the Portal includes a description of the alleged abductor, the vehicle and license plate number, and a description of the abducted child.

Citizens can subscribe to the portal at http://www.kentuckyamberalert.com/ to receive free alert notifications.

"By actively participating in the AMBER Alert program, private citizens can really make a difference," notes Commissioner Brewer. "Their input acts as a tremendous force multiplier for law enforcement officers and helps contribute to the successful recovery of missing and abducted children. The greater the public participation, the greater the chances of finding an abducted child unharmed."

KSP offers the following tips to help parents keep their children safe:

Contact Information for the Kentucky State Police

Kentucky State Police
919 Versailles Road | Frankfort, KY 40601

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