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State Faces Challenges In Establishing Amber Alert Program

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RALEIGH, N.C. — If the General Assembly and Gov. Mike Easley approve, North Carolina will join 15 other states in the Amber Alert system, and the warning system will benefit from a gift from a North Carolina-based company.

The Amber Alert system, which includes using automated highway signs, has been used recently to tell the public about abducted children. Family-owned Revival Soy company, of Kernersville, gave the system $150,000 to kick off the program.

"We pray this system is never used, but we really want to encourage the Senate. Let's get it done. Let's get it passed ASAP. Let's get this system up and going," said Byran Tabor, chief operating officer of Revival Soy. "We may need it tomorrow. I hope not, but if we do need it, it can be available, and we're grateful to the state of North Carolina for allowing us to even attempt to do this."

As the director of the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons, John Goad helped set up the version of the Amber Alert system, the North Carolina Child Alert Notification system (NC CAN).

Goad says the office will have to be beefed up before the NC CAN program goes into full gear statewide.

"We have reached a crossroads honestly here with the missing persons center where either we can curtail services and cut back on what we do or we have to get the support we need to advance from where we are," Goad said.

NC CAN is a state agency funded by tax dollars, but it cannot accept donations right now. State Rep. Michael Decker has introduced legislation into the General Assembly that would allow the program to accept donations.

"I've got a lot of positive response from it, and we're very hopeful it will happen," he said.

Fourteen North Carolina counties now participate in the North Carolina Child Alert Notification system, but that system does not use the highway signs like the Amber Alert system.


Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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