Sunday, November 23, 2008

States Disagree On Amber Alert Criteria / - Waco, Temple, Killeen Weather and News Authority

States Disagree On Amber Alert Criteria / - Waco, Temple, Killeen Weather and News Authority:

Despite a federal law meant to create a uniform system, an Associated Press review finds wide variations in the criteria for issuing Amber Alerts from one state to the next, which can heighten the tensions among authorities when a suspect crosses state lines.

The AP examined Amber Alert records from all 50 states and found that some barely keep track of the alerts they've issued, let alone whether they worked.

A few states don't have anyone designated to oversee their programs.

The poor record keeping makes it difficult to tell whether investigators have ever missed a chance to safely recover an abducted child because of differences in the state laws and their application.

Twelve states refuse to put out an alert when a parent calls police amid a custody fight, while others see that as a legitimate reason to enlist help from the public.

Twelve states issue Amber Alerts for adults with mental or physical disabilities, while other states save their bulletins solely for abducted children.

Amber Alerts were created in 1996 after the murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington.

The city developed a system in which police work with broadcasters to put out bulletins on abducted children, similar to severe weather warnings.
Soon, states began creating their own Amber Alert systems, and Congress established its own law in 2003."

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