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Amber Alerts Save Lives

January 12, 2017
Two young boys hugging.

In a day and age where we are constantly connected to the virtual world, our phones are often viewed as having a negative impact on society. Although we can probably all agree that constant connectivity does have its downfalls, there are times it's had a positive impact. One such area is in public alert systems … specifically, the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) System that notifies citizens of Amber Alerts.

For 2 decades, the Amber Alert program has played an integral role in finding children and bringing them home.

The Amber Alert Program is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Program, on a national basis. However, the Department of Justice has tasked the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with collecting and distributing Amber Alert information. Since Jan. 2014, Amber Alerts have been automatically sent through the WEA program to users with a WEA-enabled phone. Users are automatically signed up to receive 3 types of alters: President, Imminent Threat and Amber Alerts.

Upcoming Improvements

In Sept. 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a list of improvements to Wireless Emergency Alerts that will enhance the information that state and local authorities are able to include in their alerts. Among other changes, wireless providers will be required to support phone numbers and URLs in the alerts. With this change, users will easily be able to view pictures and additional information about the child abduction.

These updates are required to take place within in the next 30 months.

Georgia's Amber Alerts System: Levi's Call

In Georgia, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) coordinates Amber Alerts — known here as Levi's Call  — along with other emergency public alerts like Mattie’s Call and Kimberly's Call. Once an Alert Bulletin is ready, the GBI notifies the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS). GEMA and local law enforcement and broadcasters then determine if the alert should be broadcast locally or statewide.

Stay In The Know

At any time you can find the latest information on current and active Amber Alerts from around the country online.

If you own a smartphone, you can opt-in or -out of receiving Amber Alerts and other government emergency alerts when they're released and in your phone’s notification settings.

We urge you to stay connected. From its start in 1996 up to Dec. 23, 2016, Amber Alerts have led to the rescue of 857 children. You could save the next.

Chelsea Stephens

About the Author

Chelsea Stephens is the Marketing & Training Lead for Digital Services Georgia. A Georgia native herself, Chelsea enjoys writing on topics that citizens and visitors of Georgia can enjoy and learn from. 

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