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The Scoop

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Ohio observes AMBER Alert day

The following statement was issued Monday by the Ohio State Highway Patrol:

COLUMBUS – The Ohio AMBER Alert Advisory Committee would like to announce the State of Ohio will be observing National AMBER Alert Awareness Day on Monday, January 13, 2014. This is a day set aside to honor the memory of Amber Hagerman (Arlington, Texas) and the establishment of the AMBER Alert Program.

To date, more than 672 children nationwide have been successfully recovered as a result of the AMBER Alert Program. The following criteria have been established to ensure AMBER Alerts are only used during witnessed or confirmed abductions of children:

· An abducted child must be under 18 years of age.

· The abduction poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death to a child.

· There is sufficient descriptive information about the child, the abductor, and the circumstances surrounding the abduction to indicate that activation of the alert will help locate the child.

· A law enforcement agency determines that the child is not a runaway and has not been abducted as a result of a child custody dispute, unless the dispute poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death to the child.

Ohio’s programs utilize a variety of distribution methods including the Emergency Alert System (EAS), electronic billboards, lottery terminals, media partnerships, Twitter, Facebook, as well as secondary distribution efforts through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). In 2013 Ohio implemented Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) as part of their secondary distribution efforts. These are issued on a 24 hour basis just as all other notifications types. As Committee Member Linda Maloy stated “Criminals abduct children 24-hours a day, so the alert should go out 24-hours a day.”

AMBER Alerts can only be issued by a law enforcement agency and should be used for situations meeting the established criteria. For other missing child emergencies, the Ohio AMBER Alert Advisory Committee has established the Endangered Missing Child Alert, which uses many of the same public information distribution methods as the AMBER Alert program.

For more information on the Ohio AMBER Alert Program, please visit www.ohioamberplan.org.

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