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Amber Alerts Available To Wireless Phones

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-18

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Amber Alerts issued when a child goes missing can now be received by cellular phone users.

When law enforcement issues an Amber Alert, TV, radio, and Internet sites display the information. Special electronic signs on highways show the alert as well.

Cellphone users can now sign up for a free service and receive Amber Alerts on their phones. Most major cellular providers will allow for signup through their web sites; also, people can visit www.wirelessamberalerts.org to sign up.

Users can designate up to five zip codes to be covered by the service. When an alert is issued for those zip codes, the subscriber receives the same alert. Since many people carry their cellphones and have them on continuously, the service can reach subscribers who may otherwise miss the alert.

"With more than 60 percent of Americans owning wireless devices, and seldom going anywhere without them, this initiative will significantly increase the reach of the Amber Alert program," said Steve Largent, president of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) will initiate the transmission of a Wireless AMBER Alert to your wireless device after law enforcement has issued the alert and the following criteria, recommended by the U.S. Department of Justice, has been met:

  1. There is resonable belief by law enforcement that an abduction has occured.

  2. The abduction is of a child 17 years or younger.

  3. The law-enforcement agency believes that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.

  4. There is enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert to assist in the recovery of the child.

  5. The child's name and other critical data elements, including the Child Abduction flag, have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

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