Langevin, Colleagues Push Nationwide Amber Alert

Sep 3, 2002
(Washington, D.C.)–Congressman Jim Langevin today announced his support for legislation that will be introduced shortly, the Amber Alert Act, which would create nationwide coordination of the Amber Alert communications network and provide incentives to help bring the Amber Alert system to every state.

 Today, state officials will launch the Rhode Island program.

The Frost-Dunn Amber Alert Act establishes a Coordinator at the Department of Justice to facilitate the implementation of state and local Amber Plans and direct regional coordination between Amber Alerts.  It also provides grants to update technology, such as electronic road signs, and help spread alerts, and it makes funding available for Alert-related education, training and law enforcement programs and equipment.

 “Protecting our children is not only a local priority, but a national priority,” said Congressman Langevin.  “Amber Alert gives us an inexpensive and common-sense advantage in combating abductions throughout the nation.  I am pleased that Rhode Island has embraced such a critical program.”

 “Over this summer we have witnessed the effectiveness of the Amber Alert program,” said Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  “Our goal is to see that every state has this important program in place, and we’re confident that the Frost-Dunn Amber Alert Act will encourage communities to do so.”

 According to NCMEC, the Amber Alert program is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies and broadcasters to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases.   Broadcasters use the Emergency Alert System (EAS), formerly called the Emergency Broadcast System, to air a description of the missing child and suspected abductor.  The goal of the Amber Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe return of the child. 
 The first Amber Alert was created by Texas law enforcement and broadcasters in 1997 after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted in Arlington, Texas, and murdered.  Approximately 53 Amber Alert plans exist throughout the nation, which has assisted in the recovery of at least 27 children.

 “Creating a nationwide network of Amber Alert systems will better equip law enforcement personnel to recover a missing child and apprehend an abductor,” added Langevin.  “Amber Alert is a highly effective means of accomplishing that goal.”