Amber Alert now in place
Local government and law enforcement officials met Monday, April 21 to announce that Madison County now has the Amber Alert system in place. The local Amber Alert system will issue a county-wide alert through the Madison EMA, in the event of a child abduction situation, according to local Amber Alert spokes persons. They said that Madison County is only the third in Alabama to put an Amber Alert plan in place. The state-wide Amber Alert system is not yet in place.
The Amber Plan was created in 1996 as a legacy to nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, a bright little girl who was kidnapped and brutally murdered wile riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas. The name AMBER has a two-fold meaning, named after Amber Hagerman and the acronym AMBER stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.
The Amber plan today transmits descriptive information on the victim, offender and or offending vehicle to aid in the recovery of a child. When an Amber Alert is issued it is preceded by a series of "beeps", similar to a "weather warning". Radio stations and television stations give out the descriptive information every fifteen minutes for the first three hours. Statistics show that in the most serious child abduction cases 74 percent of the children murdered by non-family members are killed within the first three hours of their abduction.
Madison County has adopted the following criteria for issue of an Amber Alert. A child has been abducted as defined by 13A-6-40 of the Alabama Criminal Code; the child is less than 16 years old; the child is at risk of serious bodily harm or death and there is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or suspect's vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help the investigators locate the child. A 16 or 17 year old child will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on their physical and mental capacity and/or their own criminal conduct contributing to the disappearance, etc.
To date, the Amber Plan has been credited with recovering 59 children, according to Amber Plan statistics.