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Attorney General Lockyer, CHP Commissioner Helmick and California Broadcasters Unveil Tools To Implement Amber Alert Program
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today joined California Highway Patrol Commissioner D.O. "Spike" Helmick and California Broadcasters Association (CBA) president Stan Statham to announce distribution of an instructional manual and other new resources to assist communities in developing and implementing local AMBER Alert plans to enlist the public's help in recovering abducted children.
"As we've seen this summer, the AMBER Alert system has proven to be a life-saver in the quick and safe recovery of California children," Lockyer said. "With these additional tools, we believe local law enforcement and broadcasters will be able to smoothly enlist the public's eyes and ears in ensuring abducted children are returned to their families, and those who prey on our vulnerable citizens will be caught and punished."
Lockyer's Department of Justice (DOJ), with the help of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services and the CHP, developed an AMBER Alert Manual to assist local law enforcement agencies and broadcasters in creating customized AMBER Alert plans that meet the specific needs of their communities.
This week, DOJ mailed out more than 2,000 copies of the AMBER Alert Manual to all local law enforcement agencies, CHP regional offices, California district attorneys, state missing persons clearinghouses and radio and television stations throughout California. The manuals also were mailed to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the 49 other state Attorneys General.
The CBA and CHP announced they will be conducting regional seminars around the state starting next week. The seminars are intended to bring the broadcast community together with local police and sheriffs to ensure coordination and cooperation in implementing local AMBER Alert plans. In addition, the CBA unveiled a new AMBER Alert logo that broadcasters will use when reporting on child abduction cases and investigations.
The AMBER Alert Manual outlines the protocols and steps required for law enforcement agencies to initiate an AMBER Alert in their community, region and statewide. The manual provides information about the Emergency Alert System, how to transmit photos, images and messages to law enforcement, the media and the public and samples of local child abduction emergency plans.
The package containing the manual also includes an AMBER Alert Activation Guide summarizing the steps law enforcement agencies should take in determining when to trigger an alert that can be posted at command centers for easy access. In addition, the package includes a CD-ROM version of the manual that can be copied and distributed to law enforcement substations and an informational tri-fold about the system and how it work that can be distributed to the public.
Lockyer brought the AMBER Alert concept to California in 1999, when he helped Orange County create a regional program, called CARE (Child Abduction Regional Emergency) Alert, by which law enforcement could immediately contact local broadcasters to issue information to and seek the assistance of the public about child abduction cases. In 2001, he helped enact a similar system in the Sacramento region.
This year, Lockyer and the Polly Klaas Foundation co-sponsored AB 415 by Assemblyman George Runner, R-Lancaster, which implements statewide protocols and procedures to assist local law enforcement and media outlets in developing and implementing their own AMBER Alert systems, which can be linked statewide. Gov. Gray Davis signed the bill on September 12, and it took effect immediately.