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AMBER Alert turns 12

By Staff | Sep 7, 2012

Florida’s AMBER Alert Plan, which gets the word out statewide when a child is abducted, celebrates its 12th anniversary.

The plan has been praised for its success by Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

“AMBER Alerts save lives by putting information into the hands of Florida citizens. We all should sign up for AMBER Alerts,” said Bailey. “It’s free and you could be the one to provide critical information to law enforcement when a child goes missing.”

Of the 170 AMBER Alerts issued since the program began, 160 were safely resolved with 56 children recovered as a direct result of the program.

FDLE, in conjunction with the Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Association of Broadcasters, Inc., established the Florida AMBER Plan in 2000. Florida was the second state in the nation to take the partnership for AMBER Alerts statewide. Since that time, the plan has expanded to include billboards, dynamic highway message signs, lottery machines and social media.

The first success of the AMBER Alert Plan came in December 2000, when a 10-year-old girl went missing in Melbourne. The child, who was visiting from another country, was located by a citizen who heard the AMBER Alert broadcast over the radio.

In 2003, the Missing Child Alert was established as a complement to the AMBER Alert as a standardized method to request public assistance when a child is missing and that child’s life is believed to be endangered, but there is no indication of abduction.

Each year, approximately 40,000 children are reported missing in Florida, with the majority of those being reported as runaways. The FDLE Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse has issued five AMBER Alerts and 20 Missing Child Alerts so far this year.

More than 20,000 citizens have signed up at www.missingchildrenalert.com to receive Florida AMBER Alerts via email. FDLE encourages citizens to sign up to receive these free alerts to help law enforcement quickly recover children when they go missing.

For more information about Florida’s AMBER Alert and to view unresolved alerts, visit the website www.fdle.state.fl.us.