JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Public Safety in conjunction with the AMBER Alert Advisory Committee announced recently that a partnership between CTIA-The Wireless Association and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) allows the majority of Missouri cell phone users to sign up for AMBER Alerts through their wireless provider in addition to using the AMBER Alert Web Portal.
Any cell phone with text messaging capabilities registered here will receive a text message each time an AMBER Alert is issued in their area, as well as when the alert is cancelled. Subscribers will not be charged forreceiving the text messages and credit will not be deducted from his or her text-messaging plan if he or she has one.
In addition, citizens may choose to be notified through pagers or email by registering here. Users receiving notifications issued by the portal may receive them faster than users registered with the wireless industry because of the way the AMBER Alerts are issued. After passing stringent requirements, the Missouri State Highway Patrol activates the alert on the portal, that in turn notifies the NCMEC, who in turn notifies the wireless system. The hope is that with multiple opportunities toparticipate in an AMBER Alert notification system, the highest possible number of citizens will be able to join in an emergency effort to locate an endangered, abducted child.
Last year in Missouri, there were 11,448 active missing children cases in the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System (MULES). Of those cases, 6 involved abductions of children by a stranger, and three children were found dead. Already this year, four Missouri children havebeen abducted by strangers. These are the types of cases with which AMBER Alerts attempt to assist.
The wireless providers participating in the initiative include ALLTEL, Cingular Wireless, Dobson Communications, Nextel Communications, RCC/Unicel, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. Syniverse Technologies of Tampa donated the wireless alertinfrastructure to the Wireless Foundation in partnership with HP, Oracle, SunGard Availability Services, VERITAS Software, Verizon Information Technology LLC, and Integrated Research.
Gov. Matt Blunt announced last May that Missouri was joining the AMBER Alert Web Portal, a one-stop tool for law enforcement officers, broadcasters, the public and other alerting partners to rapidly issue and access real time information about an abducted child through every possible means of communication.
Studies show that the greatest chance of a homicide or victimization occurs within the first few hours to one day after the kidnapping of a child. Enabling officers and the public with instant information from the AMBER Alert Portal increases the chances of catching and deterring offenders before they hurt Missouri's children.
Fore more information regarding Missouri's AMBER Alert notification systems, please call Terri Durdaller at (573) 751-4819.