North Dakota Marks 10th Anniversary of State AMBER Alert System
BISMARCK, N.D. – Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, the North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) and the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (NDDES) today marked the 10th anniversary of the state’s AMBER – America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response – Alert system, an important lifesaving program implemented to instantly notify law enforcement and the public of an endangered child. The commemoration took place during a program at the State Emergency Operations Center in Bismarck that was held prior to the activation of the annual statewide test of the alert system.
“The AMBER Alert system is an important tool for protecting our children and returning them to safety in the event of an abduction,” Wrigley said. “It is critical that in those precious few hours following an abduction everyone is notified statewide and galvanized in their efforts to search for and safely recover the endangered children.”
On August 30, 2002, then Gov. John Hoeven issued an executive order directing the NDHP, in cooperation with the Division of Emergency Management, State Radio and other state agencies, to implement a statewide AMBER Alert system. Since its inception, the North Dakota system has been activated four times, with the safe recovery of the reported abducted children in three of the four instances. The most recent activation was in July 2010.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary, state agencies, law enforcement, industry, media and other organizations will participate in the state’s annual test of the AMBER Alert system. The test will be conducted between 2 and 3 p.m. today.
AMBER Alerts are recorded on the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s (NDDOT) 511 Road and Weather Information System, displayed on the NDDOT roadside message signs, the nd.gov/amber website, and are also displayed on scrolling banners at North Dakota State Lottery terminal sites.
The goal of the AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe return of the abducted child. The AMBER Alert Plan is a voluntary partnership among law enforcement, state agencies, the National Weather Service (NWS) and the
North Dakota Broadcasters Association to activate an urgent bulletin in child abduction cases meeting AMBER Alert activation criteria. NDDES, in collaboration with the NWS, uses the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to provide a description of the abducted child and suspected abductor to statewide radio and television broadcast stations which disseminate the information to the public.
The AMBER Alert system was first established in 1996 when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed up with local police to develop a system to help find abducted children. AMBER Alert was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was a victim of child abduction. Nationwide, AMBER Alert has been credited with the successful recovery of 584 children.
For more information about the state’s AMBER Alert system, visit www.nd.gov/des/state-radio/amber-alert/ or register at www.wirelessamberalerts.org to receive text notification of actual AMBER Alerts that occur in your area.