State officials and broadcasters are hailing the effectiveness of the AMBER Alert system, in the wake of eight successful activations and recoveries so far in 2013.
Nationwide, the AMBER Alert system has led to the successful recovery of 656 children since its inception.
“The value of the AMBER Alert system in these recoveries cannot be overstated. Timely public awareness was crucial and directly helped law enforcement safely recover these abducted children,” said State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “The AMBER Alert system is a true partnership between law enforcement and other government agencies, the media, and the public designed to save our society’s most precious assets – children!”
Here are some highlights of recent activations in or involving Washington State:
· August 18: A 15-year-old girl was abducted from Davenport, WA by a non family member. As a result of the AMBER Alert, an alert Chelan County deputy located the vehicle at a gas station less than an hour later. The child was safely recovered and her abductor taken into custody.
· August 6: A 15-year-old girl was abducted following the brutal murder of her mother and brother near San Diego, CA. The largest-ever AMBER activation, covering five states including Washington, was initiated. The suspect vehicle was located in a remote area of Idaho and led to the successful recovery of the child.
· June 28: A 5-year-old boy was abducted by his non-custodial mother and was safely recovered a mere 20 minutes after the AMBER Alert was issued.
· June 14: A 5-year-old boy was abducted by his non-custodial mother in Gold Bar and recovered a mere 30 minutes after an AMBER Alert was activated by a Douglas County deputy and WSP trooper.
· April 28: A 1-year-old child was abducted from his grandparents’ home by his non-custodial parents. A multi-state AMBER Alert was activated in Montana and Washington, leading to multiple tips from the public. The child was rescued and his abductors were taken into custody by Fife PD.
Even in cases where the children were abducted by a family member, all were considered to be in danger based on the known criminal or drug history of their abductor.
Mark Allen, President and CEO of the Washington State Association of Broadcasters, said his member stations are proud to play a role in getting abducted children back to their families. Allen leads a committee of broadcasters, government officials and private industry officials who keep the AMBER Alert program running smoothly.
“The Members of the Washington AMBER Alert Advisory Committee have made important contributions to the development of our Statewide AMBER Alert Plan and each of the stakeholders is grateful that Washington AMBER Alerts have been extremely successful in reuniting children with their families.”
In Washington State, WSP maintains the statewide AMBER Alert plan, and there are nearly 200 local AMBER Alert plans developed by local and county law enforcement agencies. The State Patrol coordinates all alerts received from out-of-state.
Previous years activations in Washington State were eight during 2010, three during 2011, and nine in 2012.
Additional information on AMBER Alert can be found at http://www.missingkids.com/AMBER.
Information on Washington State AMBER Alert Plan can be found at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/crime/amber.htm.