National AMBER Alert Awareness Day recognized across Florida

The U.S. Dept. of Justice recognizes the day on Jan. 13 each year

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The nationwide AMBER alert system recognized 19 years of service Tuesday.

AMBER stands for "America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response," and on January 13 each year, the U.S. Department of Justice remembers the abduction and brutal murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman 19 years ago in Texas.

The national AMBER alert system has made big technological strides.

Statewide, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said that more than 30,000 citizens have signed up to received Florida AMBER Alerts via e-mail.  FDLE encourages citizens to sign up to receive these free alerts, to help law enforcement quickly recover children when they disappear.

According to FDLE, each year-- about 35,000 children are reported missing in Florida, with the majority of those being reported as runaways.

Last year (2014), FDLE reports it issued six AMBER Alerts and 36 Missing Child Alerts.  An AMBER Alert resulted in the direct recovery of one child and 6 children were located as a result of a Missing Child Alert.

FDLE, along with the Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Association of Bradcasters, Inc., established the Florida AMBER Plan in 2000.  Florida was the second state in the nation to take the partnership for AMBER Alerts statewide.

For safety tips on how to keep your children safe, visit the The Florida Department of Law Enforcement website. 

To learn more about Florida's AMBER Plan or to sign up to receive alerts, visit the Missing Children Alert website.

About the Author:

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.