What parents need to know about the AMBER Alert Plan - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

What parents need to know about the AMBER Alert Plan

Posted: Updated:

For parents, there's always the fear their child could go missing.

In the summer, kids are playing outside more, but research shows kids are at greatest risk of being abducted walking to and from school or school related activities. In Ohio last year, eight AMBER alerts were issued for missing children.

A parent's worst nightmare can happen in minutes; their child disappears at the hands of an abductor. Time is of the essence in the search.

"Unfortunately in most incidents where a child is abducted in the first three hours, the child is usually killed in those three hours," said Detective Pat Mondora, Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.

Amber Hagerman's abduction and killing in Texas 18 years ago, forever changed law enforcement's approach to finding kidnapped kids across the country.

Rob Jackson, a representative of the Ohio AMBER Alert Advisory Committee, explained, "After that, the parents and local media and police department all worked together to develop an AMBER Alert plan."

The program, named in Amber's honor, sends out a call to action to the community to be on the lookout for the child and suspect. The word gets out through multiple platforms, including the Emergency Alert System that interrupts radio and TV broadcasts.

One of the latest ways the alerts are sent to the public is via a message similar to a text. Recently purchased smart phones are automatically enabled to receive this Wireless Emergency Alert.

"They may be the one person that's driving by the suspect during that and can help in the safe recovery of the child," Jackson said.

Police say a common misconception when a child goes missing is that an AMBER Alert should be issued but this is not always the case.

AMBER Alerts are reserved for when a child under 18 has been abducted and is in danger of serious bodily harm or death. It cannot be a family dispute or custody issue, unless the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death. Enough descriptive information concerning the circumstances, suspect, vehicle, and victim has to be available. In Mahoning County, the investigating police agency also has to recommend the alert.

Maggie McGee, Mahoning County 911 Director said, "These aren't routine. So you have to stay on top of it and do exercises to stay sharp."

The majority of cases in Ohio have involved family members and not strangers.

"They (AMBER Alerts) very much work. We've had four AMBER Alerts (so far) this year. All have been successful and safe recovery of the child," Jackson said.

Police want parents to know that you should not wait 24 hours to report a missing child or person. The sooner police know someone is missing, the quicker they can investigate and take action to track down the child.

If the circumstances surrounding a child's disappearance are unknown, police can issue an Endangered Missing Child Alert. It sends out a message through the same channels except the Emergency Alert System.


  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Lightning kills boy swimming in Pennsylvania creek

    Lightning kills boy swimming in Pennsylvania creek

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:09:34 GMT
    Authorities say a lightning strike has killed a boy who was swimming in a central Pennsylvania creek.More >>
    Authorities say a lightning strike has killed a boy who was swimming in a central Pennsylvania creek.More >>
  • Ohio police: Wedding guest tries to steal gifts

    Ohio police: Wedding guest tries to steal gifts

    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Police in Dayton say a wedding guest tried to make off with checks and cash for the newlyweds. Officers were called to the wedding reception late Saturday night after workers noticed that a safe had been emptied out. Police say about $6,800 was found in unopened wedding cards inside a tuxedo garment bag belonging to one of the guests. A police report says surveillance video showed a man entering the office and later walking out with the garment bag. The man told police he...More >>
    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Police in Dayton say a wedding guest tried to make off with checks and cash for the newlyweds. Officers were called to the wedding reception late Saturday night after workers noticed that a safe had been emptied out. Police say about $6,800 was found in unopened wedding cards inside a tuxedo garment bag belonging to one of the guests. A police report says surveillance video showed a man entering the office and later walking out with the garment bag. The man told police he...More >>
  • Flying club remembers 4 killed in Ohio plane crash

    Flying club remembers 4 killed in Ohio plane crash

    CLEVELAND (AP) - Members of a flying club held a candlelight vigil to remember four Ohio college students killed a week ago when a small plane crashed just after taking off near Cleveland. Friends and family members were among the 80 people who gathered Sunday night near the crash site in Willoughby Hills. Federal officials say the pilot of the plane reported he was having trouble climbing just after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport. All four people aboard the plane were stude...More >>
    CLEVELAND (AP) - Members of a flying club held a candlelight vigil to remember four Ohio college students killed a week ago when a small plane crashed just after taking off near Cleveland. Friends and family members were among the 80 people who gathered Sunday night near the crash site in Willoughby Hills. Federal officials say the pilot of the plane reported he was having trouble climbing just after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport. All four people aboard the plane were stude...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms