Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old from Arlington, Texas, was abducted in front of witnesses in 1996 while innocently riding her bicycle. Her body was found four days later. In response to community concern following this tragedy, the Association of Radio Managers with the assistance of area law enforcement in Arlington, Texas, created the “Amber Plan.” Named for Amber Hagerman, the Plan uses the Emergency Alert System (EAS), formerly the Emergency Broadcast System, to report serious child abduction cases.
Under the Plan, radio and television stations immediately interrupt programming to broadcast information about a child abduction by using the EAS, a system typically used for weather or other civil emergencies. Since the Amber Plan was established in Texas, many areas across the country have adopted a similar emergency alert plan on the local, regional, or statewide level. The plan is simple – to alert the public as quickly as possible to child abduction in hopes of gaining information which will lead to the safe recovery of that child and capture of the abductor. Between 1996 and 2002, the alert system has been credited with the safe return of at least 21 children.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has endorsed the use of the Amber Plan as used in Texas to assist in the most serious child abduction cases and is promoting the use of such emergency alert plans nationwide. The NCMEC has carefully assessed all current plans in use around the country and has developed a guidebook called, “AMBER Plan, America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response”. To review the guidebook, please log on to www.missingkids.com and click on the AMBER icon.
America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response
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