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Desktop ticker broadens Amber Alert reach

desktopamberalertreach.jpgKeeping our kids and neighborhoods safe is important to all parents. Knowing that there are elements in place beyond watchful and vigilant friends and neighbors can bring an added piece of mind.

We’ve all seen or heard the Amber Alerts for missing and abducted children on television and radio broadcasts. Interstate roads also post them on the digital road-side and bridge message boards. Because of a recent Amber Alert broadcast in my state, a child was returned to her mother within a few hours of the release of the Amber Alert. Other kids, such as Amber Hagerman, for whom the Amber Alert system is named after, have not been so lucky. So what if you’re hunkered down at your desk, in front of the computer and aren’t tuned in to any media broadcasts? How would you know? How would you be able to help if you were in a position to? And, if it were your child (heaven forbid!) wouldn’t you want as many people as possible to be aware of the posted alert?

Now, you can be notified right at your computer desktop, from Web sites and even on your mobile device., a non-profit organization in business since 2007 has developed a desktop ticker, a Web site ticker, wireless device and e-mail alerts. The desktop and Web tickers change from their standard background (white) to yellow when an alert is issued. Both downloads are free, and only require submitting your name and e-mail address in order to receive the desktop download and the java script code for a Web site, which can be cut and pasted into the site’s code. The CodeAmber tickers can be specified for the United States or Canada. (The national center for missing and exploited children also provides wireless Amber Alerts.)

A Brief History of the Amber Alert System

In January 1996, nine-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted while riding her bicycle in her Arlington, Texas neighborhood. She was thrown into a car, but not before an alert neighbor heard her screams. The neighbor was able to provide a vague description of the abductor and his vehicle to police and FBI agents, who conducted a search. They found her body four days later, but unfortunately, the case remains unsolved. Another concerned citizen in Dallas, suggested that when such events occur, broadcast stations should inform the public through repeated broadcasts as with weather warnings, and by July 1997, the Dallas Amber Alert system came to fruition. Broadcasters use the Emergency Alert System to dispatch the information. In April 2003 Congress passed a national Amber Alert package.There are local, regional, state-wide, national and international Amber Alert systems, and since the inception of Amber Alert programs 365 children have been successfully returned to their parents or guardians. There are also 119 Amber Alert plans nationwide, according to statistics from the United States Department of Justice.

Sources: (In alphabetical order)

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