Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today reminded Kansans to stay alert when the public’s assistance is needed to help locate missing children. Schmidt’s reminder comes as National Amber Alert Awareness Day is observed today.
“Kansans should always be mindful when an alert is issued,” Schmidt said. “When a child goes missing, getting detailed information about the incident out to the public as quickly as possible can be critical. The chances of finding an abducted child increase dramatically when more people in the search area are on the lookout – especially in the first few hours. The watchful eyes of Kansas citizens can help save a child’s life.”
Schmidt also announced the launch of a redesigned Kansas Amber Alert website, www.ksamber.org and a new Kansas Amber Alert Twitter account, @ksamberalert. Schmidt said the information on the new website is now presented in a more user-friendly and visually appealing format. The website is managed by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation in partnership with Kansas.gov.
Since its inception in 1996, this national program has successfully brought 782 children home safely. In Kansas, 27 children have been safely returned since 2002. During 2015, two Amber Alerts were issued in Kansas, both resulting in the safe recovery of the abducted children.
The Kansas Amber Alert system is coordinated by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and the KBI. When an alert is issued, the media are notified to begin broadcasting the details of the missing child and suspect. Last year, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children announced a partnership with Facebook to send AMBER Alerts to the social network’s community to help find missing children.
The Amber Alert program, named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, and transportation agencies to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. Broadcasters use the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to air a description of the abducted child and suspected abductor. The goal of an Amber Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child.
In addition to the Amber Alert program, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children maintains a list of all missing children from Kansas. That database can be accessed at www.missingkids.com. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of any of these missing persons should contact a law enforcement agency or call 1-800-KS-CRIME.