AMBER alert plan officially implemented by TPD

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Children in Troy are a bit safer now that the Troy Police Department's AMBER alert plan has been officially implemented.

The Troy plan, which went into effect statewide on June 1, was fully implemented June 12 when Police Chief Anthony Everage issued a general order to Troy officers that outlines the procedure they will use in the event a child is abducted in the city.

"AMBER is now fully implemented in Troy and it's a very positive thing," said Mayor Jimmy Lunsford. "I would commend Chief Everage for seeing that our city and our officers can take advantage of this tool that is now available to them."

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Each officer is being trained in the activation procedure and will watch a training video as well as have written instructions for who to activate an AMBER alert.

AMBER is the acronym for America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response and is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement and local broadcasters, who have agreed to allow the Emergency Alert System to be activated in the event a person under the age of 18 is abducted.

The purpose, Everage said, is so that the public can be immediately involved in a case of suspected abduction.

"It's important to involve the public," he said, "because they can assist law enforcement in these cases if they know about them quickly."

The AMBER plan four distinct purposes: to provide a rapid response to the most serious child abduction cases; to gain the assistance of thousands of television viewers and radio listeners through the coverage area; to coerce the kidnapper to release the child for fear of arrest; and to deter people from committing the crime.

According to Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, Troy police will activate the plan only when all of the following criteria are met:

* A child has been abducted as defined by Section 13A-6-40 of the Alabama Criminal Code.

The child is less than 18 years of age.

The child is at risk of serious bodily harm or death.

There is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, or the suspect's vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will investigators locate the child.

"We want to be able to rapidly intervene in a case where there is danger to the child," Scarbrough said.

When the criteria are met, an AMBER alert would be activated, and an authorized official with the police department would request the Alabama Dept. of Public Safety to broadcast the alert via the Emergency Alert System.

The EAS system broadcasts emergency information – now mostly weather alerts – through on-air broadcasters and cable television operators to the general public.

"The AMBER plan is a powerful law enforcement tool and a wonderful way broadcasters can contribute to their communities," Everage said. "It not only recovers missing children but acts a deterrent to this type of crime."

For more information about the AMBER plan, contact the Troy Police Department at 566-0500.