Amber Alert Celebrates 10th Year

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

January 13, 2006

It was 10 years ago that a little girl was taken away from her family, prompting the creation of the Amber Alert system. Almost 300 families nationwide have experienced the effectiveness of that system.

The Virginia State Police Department is joining other law enforcement personnel across the country in recognizing Amber Alert Day.

Parents hear it all the time: "Know where your child is at all times. It only takes a second for your child to scoot off and run away," said Trooper Rich Heitman, with the Virginia State Police.

Almost 300 families have witnessed first-hand the effectiveness of the amber alert, which has been activated seventeen times, since starting in Virginia back in 2002.

"It has resulted in the recovery of two missing children, and helped in the recovery of three other missing children," said Trooper Heitman.

January 13, 2006 marks the 10th year of the abduction and murder of Texas 9-year-old Amber Hagerman. Hagerman's tragic death prompted the creation of 'America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.' Teamed with media in 'Anytown U.S.A.', the amber alert has proved to be highly successful in keeping everyone informed, and alert when a child is in danger,

"You will see V-DOT signs on your highways alerting to the abduction of the child."

As startling as it is, it is a known fact that children are taken away from their surroundings all too often, and some never get mentioned during an amber alert. There's a reason why.

"The amber alert system is activated when there is an imminent threat of death, or serious injury," said Trooper Heitman.

There are 114 amber alert programs nationwide.

The U.S. Department of Justice promotes public education to raise awareness of the amber alert. The public service announcements can be seen on television and radio.

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