An Amber Alert lead to the safe recovery of an eight-year-old girl from Fishers. It‘s success stories like that which make the Amber Alert interruptions worth it, according to the group dedicated to finding missing children.
Sophia Snow became one of more than 650 children from around the country who have been rescued after Amber Alerts were issued since they began in 1996.
“The families of those children appreciate the Amber Alert program and appreciate the public‘s participation in the program,” said Bob Hoever, director of special programs for the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children. “Without the public‘s participation, there wouldn’t be an Amber program.”
Amber Alerts were originally designed to be delivered the same way as severe weather alerts, with automatic interruptions to radio and television broadcasts. While that still takes place, Amber Alerts have evolved into the age of smartphones, where many younger people get their information.
“We try to stay on top of technology and try to harness that technology to get the information to as many people as possible as rapidly as possible,” said Hoever.
Some have complained that, since smartphones became ubiquitous, they are flooded with Amber Alert notifications – sometimes getting multiple alerts from police as well as news organizations. But Hoever doesn‘t worry about that. “The hope is that someone would receive an Amber Alert more than one time, rather than not at all.”
Hoever points out that Amber Alerts are rare since they are only issued when a child has been abducted and whose life is in imminent danger.
“It‘s pretty much like finding a needle in a haystack. The more eyes and ears we have out there searching for that child, the smaller the haystack becomes.”