Local News

New program aims to speed up Amber Alert process

Posted May 29, 2009 11:31 p.m. EDT
Updated May 29, 2009 11:48 p.m. EDT

— Highway signs are flash-points for getting Amber Alert information to the public, but a new program called Amber Ready is designed to reduce the time it takes to get information circulated when a child goes missing.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children more than 2,000 children are abducted each day and about 115 of them never return.

“The three most critical factors in aiding the recovery of a missing child are speed, a thorough investigation and eyeballs,” Amber Ready CEO Kai Patterson said during an information session in Raleigh.

Amber Ready is a nationwide program, based in Rockaway, N.J.

The program, which costs $50 for a two-year membership, allows parents to create and store vital information about their children and their photographs on their cell phones. That information can be used to generate a missing child poster instantly.

The two-year membership includes a DNA and child fingerprinting kits and up to 1,000 free color posters if your child ever is missing.

Using the program, law enforcement officers can take the poster from a parent's cell phone immediately to police headquarters, while other officers conduct their investigation.

Amber Ready provides law enforcement with materials so the program is of no cost to them.

The theory is, the quicker the information gets out, the better the chances of locating that missing child.

Parent AnitaMarie Dakin believes the approach could help protect his twins, Dominque and Matthew.

Durham Police Department Sgt. David Addison cautions that parents should not view Amber Ready as the only way to safe guard their children's information.

“Being able to go to the residents and have all that information, usually, we can implement the Silver Alert or Amber Alert in a matter of minutes,” Addison said.