As a parent, your number one job is to keep your children safe, and that’s not always easy. In our imperfect world there is no shortage of potential dangers to innocent children. One of a parent’s worst nightmares is the thought of the abduction of a child.
We hear stories of abductions by one side in a custody battle, or even more chilling, by a complete stranger intent on hurting the child. Occasionally a child may even become an inadvertent victim of abduction when a vehicle is stolen with the child strapped inside.
If your child ever goes missing, your family may benefit from the AMBER Alert system.
The Catalyst: Amber Hagerman
The AMBER Alert System started small in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan area in 1996. Television broadcasters joined with local police agencies to implement a warning system to help find abducted children. They were acting in response to the abduction and murder of Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old who was abducted in Arlington, Texas while riding her bicycle. Although named for Amber, it is also an acronym for “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.”
How It Works
The system broadcasts information through various mediums regarding the abduction as soon as possible. It includes the name and a photograph or description of the abducted child, as well location information. Alerts also include a vehicle description and license plate number, when possible. This approach increases exponentially the ability to locate a child by having thousands of people simultaneously watching for the vehicle and victim.
The AMBER Alert System demonstrates an unprecedented amount of cooperation between police and government agencies, the broadcast industry and other private businesses, Congress, the President of the United States, community organizations, and even foreign countries. In 2002, only four states had statewide AMBER Alert Systems. In 2005, Hawaii became the fiftieth state to implement its system. It has also been implemented in the Canadian provinces and Mexico’s border states.
The Ultimate Network
In 2013, AMBER Alerts started being broadcast to the widest audience possible–wireless phone users. With that capability, tens of thousands of people are notified to be on the lookout for an abductor and victim as soon as police have the information to share.
In February of this year, a six-year-old girl was abducted from her home in the family’s stolen van. Through a cell phone alert, a clerk at a gas station spotted the vehicle and notified police, resulting in the girl’s safe recovery and the abductor’s arrest. As of August 2015, there have been 772 successful child recoveries.
Contact local police immediately if you believe an AMBER Alert is warranted in your family.
The AMBER Alert System is a critical component to keeping our children safe. And, while it’s not likely that your child will ever be abducted (thankfully!), it is more likely that something could happen to you and your child could be put in the car of someone you wouldn’t want. But not if you have a Kids Protection Plan®. This plan provides you with the legal planning tools necessary to make sure there is never a question of who will take care of your kids if you can’t, including legal documents to name guardians, instructions and guidelines for those guardians, medical powers of attorney for your children, and even a confidential exclusion of anyone you know you would never want.
If you have not named legal guardians for your kids yet, or you have, but you’ve potentially made one of the 6 common mistakes that could leave your kids at risk, contact a Personal Family Lawyer®for a Family Wealth Planning Session.