TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida law enforcement officials joined federal and private partners Saturday to commemorate National AMBER Alert Awareness Day.
"When a child is abducted or goes missing, every minute counts,” Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen said. “Citizen-provided information and tips led to the direct recovery of a child in half of the AMBER alerts activated in Florida cases last year. I would encourage all Floridians to sign up.”
More than 20,000 citizens have signed up at www.missingchildrenalert.com to receive Florida AMBER Alerts via e-mail. Floridians also can follow FDLE on Facebook and Twitter, allowing them to quickly share alerts with others on social media.
Last year, FDLE’s Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse issued 10 AMBER Alerts and 51 Missing Child Alerts. Five children have been located by AMBER Alerts and eight children were located as a direct result of Missing Child Alerts.
Since the program’s inception in 2000, FDLE has issued 218 AMBER Alerts and 73 children have been located as a direct result.
The FDLE said citizen awareness is vital to the success of the AMBER Alert plan. On Sept. 3, an AMBER Alert was issued for an 11-year-old female from Apopka, Florida. The Orange County Sheriff’s office said the child was taken by force from the home by a relative. The child’s grandmother, who witnessed the incident, said the child was assaulted and taken from the residence to a wooded area. The Child Abduction Response Team was activated to assist the Orange County Sheriff’s Office with a door-to-door search. More than 100 law enforcement officers from several agencies also took part in searching for the child. Because of an alert citizen who had seen the AMBER notification and contacted law enforcement, the child was recovered safely.
Click here to view tips on how to keep children safe.