Google Joins the AMBER Alert Network
The following section of this story is courtesy of Mary Lou Leary, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs
Last week the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) welcomed Google into the AMBER Alert network. This innovative and exciting new partnership will provide real-time AMBER Alert updates to users of Google Map and ??Google Search features. Because we know a child’s chances for a safe recovery are greater when resources are mobilized quickly, Google Public Alerts will help to ensure a rapid response in the first critical hours after a child goes missing.
As most people know, AMBER alert is a notification system for abducted children. It began in 1996 in response to the abduction and murder of a nine-year-old girl in Texas named Amber Hagerman. So AMBER is eponymous, but it’s also an acronym – it stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. To date, 591 abducted children have been recovered and brought safely home through AMBER Alerts.
AMBER Alert started as a partnership among law enforcement, broadcasters, and transportation agencies and later expanded to include other groups in what we call a “secondary distribution network,” which allows us to target AMBER Alerts to specific areas and to reach citizens directly. Radio and TV, lottery and highway signs, airports and truck stops, Yahoo, Facebook and AOL, are all part of the AMBER Alert System of getting information about a missing child to people in the very locality in which she was abducted or last seen. Federal partners such as the FBI, US Marshals Service, ICE and others are part of the team too. Now Google, through its Crisis Response/Disaster Relief projects becomes another critical ingredient in our mission to keep our children safe.
What’s so exciting – and innovative – about secondary distribution is that it relies on partnerships between public and private entities. The collaboration with Google builds on that work, and is particularly encouraging in the case of abducted children because we know the safety of our children is an issue we all care about. Our partnership withGoogle is a premier example of the great ventures that result when public and private groups pool their resources and ideas.
I have the privilege of serving as the National AMBER Alert Coordinator, and OJP, through our Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, is the lead federal office responsible for supporting AMBER activities with our public safety partners. I am tremendously excited about this effort – and about the opportunities this creates for citizens to assist law enforcement in their recovery efforts. We are deeply grateful to Google for their commitment, to NCMEC for their partnership and for all our work together securing the safety of America’s children.
Google Public Alerts
You can sign up for Google’s Public Alerts which has alerts users to dangerous storms and other emergencies in your area. Now Public Alerts has expanded to include AMBER alerts.
Also, Google, "AMBER Alerts for missing children will now appear in your Google Search and Maps if you search for a location where an alert has been issued or conduct a targeted search on that location.
Google will provide will provide users information about the abducted child and any other details about the case as they become available. Google is also working with other countries to expand this new feature across the globe.
To learn more about AMBER alerts, click here.
The following is courtesy of the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children is now accepting nominations for the 2013 National Missing and Exploited Children’s Law Enforcement Awards.
United States law-enforcement agencies of all sizes and jurisdictions may be considered by submitting nominations for an officer or non law-enforcement personnel who have performed above and beyond the call of duty in safely recovering a missing child or successfully resolving a complex child sexual exploitation investigation.
About the Ceremony
The National Missing and Exploited Children’s Awards are held annually on or near May 25 — National Missing Children’s Day. The ceremony, hosted by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), is held in partnership with the Fraternal Order of Police and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Since the first ceremony in 1996, The National Missing and Exploited Children’s Awards has honored 193 outstanding law-enforcement officers.
The 2013 ceremony will take place in May in Washington, DC.
To nominate a person by clicking here.
What Parents Need to Know
As reported by Andrea J. Sedlak, David Finkelhor, Heather Hammer, and Dana J. Schultz, “National Estimates of Missing Children: An Overview,” National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children, Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, October 2002, page 5, there are nearly 800,000 children reported missing each year –that is more than 2,000 per day!
Parents need to know the eight rules for child safety (pdf).
What To Do If Your Child Is Missing
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has a brochure you should print out and save in case of emergency and to prepare yourself for the unthinkable. The above video gives more information about the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
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