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Amber Alert Technology Helps Bring Children Home

January 10, 2013
Police officer holding a baby

Amber Alerts have proven to play an important and effective part in returning abducted children safely to their families. The goal of an Amber Alert is to alert and engage the community in assisting in the search for and safe recovery of a child.

Amber Alert plans include law enforcement agencies, highway departments, and companies that support emergency alerts such as the wireless industry. All 50 states have statewide Amber Alert programs. Because kidnappers can cross state lines, the Department of Justice will also often be involved in responding to an abduction. Georgia's Public Alert System is coordinated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS).

Levi's Call is Georgia's Amber Alert System. Other emergency missing alerts in Georgia include:

  • Mattie's Call for missing disabled or elderly persons;
  • Kimberly's Call when violent criminals are at large and may be of serious threat to the public; and 
  • Blue Alerts, to speed the apprehension of violent criminals who kill or seriously injure law officers and to aid in the location of missing law enforcement officers.

Law enforcement officers send out alerts if there is any indication that the child is in harm's way, if they have descriptions of the child or the abductor, and if they believe that immediate broadcast will help. Vehicle information is usually transmitted to highway message boards.

In addition to highway message boards, law enforcement also uses the Emergency Alert System (EAS), telephone alert systems, the Internet, text messaging, and email. Most wireless providers participate in the Amber Alert network, and subscribers can sign up for free text message alerts. If you use social media, alerts are posted to the GAB AlertNet Facebook and Twitter. Emergency missing alerts are also posted on GEMA/HS's Twitter account.

About the Author

Sunita Kapahi writes about education, public safety, social services and transportation for GeorgiaGov. She is an Atlanta native and a graduate of Georgia State University.

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