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Choosing a New Approach to AMBER Alerts

NCJ Number
Date Published
Becky Lewis
The Kentucky State Police have expanded their media for announcing AMBER alerts as quickly and broadly as possible in jurisdictions where children are missing.
The Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) is being used with some AMBER alerts. Using CMAS, a loud tone announcing the AMBER alert message is automatically sent to all cell phones in targeted geographic areas where the police believe the missing child may be. Cell phone users have the option of not receiving the alert by changing settings on their phone or calling their carrier. Law enforcement agencies throughout the State are expected to tell residents in their jurisdictions that they may get these alerts on their cell phones. Whether or not to use the CMAS for an AMBER alert is decided on a case-by-case basis. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has recommendations on the use of CMAS in AMBER alerts; for example, it recommends considering a moratorium on its use between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Kentucky, however, may still use CMAS during these hours if the information is sufficiently urgent and believed to be accurate. Kentucky uses three geographic zones, with the alert possibly going to only one or two of the three. An information template includes a vehicle description and specific roads of interest.
Date Created: October 17, 2013