By Steve Neavling
A lot more people are going to learn about missing children after the Justice Department created a partnership with Facebook to send AMBER alerts to its users, WJCL reports.
A similar deal was reached with Bing.
Attorney General Eric Holder said this is a big step to finding more children before it’s too late.
“Protecting the well-being of our young people is a responsibility that falls to every American,” Holder said. “Each of us can help by paying close attention to alerts that come in – and by making sure you are plugged into the AMBER Alert network via social media. Remember: finding an abducted child and returning him or her to safety depends on a fast response. The more vigilant citizens we have on the look-out, the better our chances of a quick recovery.”
The complete text of Holder’s message:
“At the Department of Justice, we are committed to ensuring the safety and security of everyone in this country – and especially our young people. Over the last two decades, a key tool in this effort has been the AMBER Alert system – an early warning system that helps us find and return abducted children.”
“Since the first AMBER Alert system became operational in 1996, AMBER Alert’s strong network of law enforcement and transportation officials, broadcasters, private-sector representatives – and dedicated ordinary citizens – has helped to rescue and safely return more than 700 abducted children. Just last month, two young children were recovered. In one incident, a three-year-old boy who had been taken in a domestic dispute was used as a shield by his abductor. In another, an infant just 20 days old was abducted by a carjacker. Fortunately, with the help of the AMBER Alert system, both children were rescued unharmed.”
“Through radio announcements, highway signs, wireless notifications, and Web posts, AMBER Alerts are now capable of rapidly reaching millions of people across the country. But we have a great deal more to do in order to ensure that we can spread the word about missing children as quickly and as widely as possible.”
“Today – as our nation observes National AMBER Alert Awareness Day – I am pleased to announce that we are making two vital additions to our innovative national partnerships in order to expand the reach of the AMBER Alert system. Facebook, already an AMBER Alert partner, will now begin sending alerts, along with detailed information and photographs, to its members in designated search areas. And the search engine Bing will begin allowing users to access AMBER Alerts through its online tools. These cutting-edge tools are available as a result of agreements with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which coordinates our AMBER Alert distribution efforts.”
“Facebook’s geo-targeted alerts and Bing’s online broadcast tools will give AMBER Alerts an expanded social media and Internet presence – extending our web of child protection resources into new and critical areas. I am grateful for their involvement, and for the participation of so many organizations and agencies that have helped to make the AMBER Alert system such an important public safety asset. And I urge other companies and organizations to step forward and do their part by offering whatever assistance they can provide.”
“Protecting the well-being of our young people is a responsibility that falls to every American. Each of us can help by paying close attention to alerts that come in – and by making sure you are plugged into the AMBER Alert network via social media. Remember: finding an abducted child and returning him or her to safety depends on a fast response. The more vigilant citizens we have on the look-out, the better our chances of a quick recovery.”