The California Highway Patrol and the U.S. Department of Justice will observe Amber Alert Awareness Day today, in an effort to raise public awareness of the AMBER Alert program.
Every state uses the program, with the goal to instantly spur the public to assist in the search and recovery of a child.
The CHP serves as the coordinator for California’s AMBER Alert system, which has been activated 218 times since its implementation in July 2002. Activations of the alert system have resulted in the rescue or safe finding of 255 children.
“The public has been essential to the success of California’s AMBER Alert system,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Working together with law enforcement, broadcasters, and other government agencies has proven successful in saving the lives of hundreds of children in California for more than a decade.”
Since Jan. 1, the scope of AMBER Alerts has been expanded. The alerts can now be activated if a child has been taken by anyone, including parents or guardians and regardless of whether an abduction is involved, if the agency believes the child is in threat of serious bodily injury or death.
“An AMBER Alert is a call to action,” said Farrow. “Not only is law enforcement engaged in the safe recovery of the child, but there are thousands of other eyes and ears aiding in that search.”
The CHP asks those extra eyes and ears to get involved during an AMBER Alert by watching and listening to news reports, paying attention to message signs along the highway (which display information about the abductor’s vehicle and license plate number), and keeping an eye out for the suspect vehicle.
By raising public awareness of the AMBER Alert system, the CHP aims to gain more help in their searches statewide.