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AMBER Alert Awareness Day - January 13, 2010
01/11/2010
 
Lieutenant Molly Cotter
Oregon State Police
Office: (503) 378-8754
 
Sheriff Tim Evinger
Klamath County Sheriff's Office
Office: (541) 883-5130

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Thirteen years since the abduction and murder of Amber Hagerman in Arlington, Texas, January 13, 2010, commemorates the nation's fourth AMBER Alert Awareness Day. Since that tragic day in 1997, AMBER Alert programs have played a role in the recovery of nearly 500 children. Last year there were 3 AMBER Alert activations in Oregon, all of which ended in the safe recovery of a child.
 

Nationwide, there are 29 regional, 38 local, and statewide plans in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In November 2002, the State of Oregon announced its implementation of a statewide AMBER Alert Plan. Oregon's AMBER Alert Plan - America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response - is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and local broadcasters to send an emergency alert to the public when a child has been abducted and it is believed the child's life is in danger.
 
Oregon's AMBER Plan Criteria are:
 
1. Law enforcement confirms a child has been abducted (*)
2. The child is 17 years or younger
3. The child may be in danger of serious bodily harm or death
4. There is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or suspect's vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help.
5. The child's name and other critical data elements - including the child abduction (CA) and AMBER Alert (AA) flags will/have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.

 
(* This alert system is not to be used when a child runs away or involves a custodial situation.)

 
Oregon State Police is the designated law enforcement agency which local law enforcement agencies contact to initiate an AMBER Alert. When all the AMBER guidelines and criteria have been met, the AMBER Alert Plan is activated using the AMBER Web Portal. Since Oregon's AMBER Alert plan implementation, there have been 15 activations and the successful recovery of 17 children.
 
The following is a brief review of Oregon's 2009 AMBER Alert activations:
  • On March 2nd Oregon launched an AMBER Alert related to a reported abduction of a 3-year-old girl in Yreka, California. The child was found safe by California Highway Patrol in northern California and her alleged abductor arrested.
  • On April 22nd an AMBER Alert was activated in Oregon related to the reported abduction of a 5-year-old boy in Hines. The child was found safe by Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and Nevada Highway Patrol after being sighted near Denio, Nevada just across the border. Both suspects were detained.
  • On July 22nd an AMBER Alert was activated in Oregon related to a reported missing 12-year-old girl believed to be in danger. The girl was found safe in Myrtle Creek and her 40-year old father was arrested on a felony child abuse charge.
 
Oregon's AMBER Alert plan sends out alerts through radio and television, highway advisory signs, email and to wireless subscribers who opt to receive the text messages on their wireless devices. Anyone may sign-up at no cost to be notified of Oregon's AMBER Alerts through the AMBER Alert Web Portal.
 
Unfortunately, Oregon and many states around the country noted several incidents of false text message alerts during the last couple years. Many of these so-called AMBER Alerts that circulate by text message and e-mail involve cases that had already been resolved or were outright hoaxes.
Oregon's co-AMBER Alert Review Committee chairs, Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger and OSP Lieutenant Molly Cotter, reminds everyone that AMBER Alerts coming from an official source provides initial notification, updates, and a cancellation.
 
"AMBER Alerts from unknown sources could lead to a delayed response from the public and jeopardizes the integrity of the entire AMBER Alert plan. Forwarding text messages can circulate indefinitely without a cancellation, so don't forward this message if you receive something similar without knowing it is a confirmed AMBER Alert" said Evinger and Cotter.
 
Oregon joins the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children encouraging all wireless subscribers to sign up for Wireless AMBER Alerts. More information about Wireless AMBER Alerts and national AMBER Alert Awareness Day is available at:
http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&Pageld=3902
 
Information about the AMBER Alert Plan in Oregon is available at the Oregon State Police web site at http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/AMBERALERT/index.shtml
 
More information about Amber Alert's is available at www.amberalert.gov