January 12, 2006
A different registry is up and running that could mean saving a life quicker. News 12 is on your side to show you how Amber Alerts are now wireless.
For these children at Sunshine House Daycare, playtime is well, a good time. But it’s a watchful time for Melissa Johnson.
“You can take your eye off them in a minute and they can be gone in a minute,” Johnson said.
Johnson takes a headcount before and after recess. And while her children, Zane and Zachary, are really close to her, she knows some parents worry about their own.
“I’ve seen parents expressions when they come in and are like you said, if dad’s picked ‘em up, grandma’s picked ‘em up and they’re like oh my God, where’s my child?” Johnson said.
That’s a question law enforcement officers hear, too, when they issue an Amber Alert for a missing child. Time becomes crucial.
“The first three hours is a very critical time frame of where those children can be found,” said E.H. Cordes III, North Augusta Public Safety.
The Amber Alert program is almost 10 years old. Billboards on the interstate and messages through local media have helped save more than 200 little lives. Now, the alerts are being added to cell phones.
Most major cell phone carriers are a part of the initiative, but you need to be able to receive a text message to participate. The website to register is wirelessamberalerts.org. Once you’ve entered your phone number, you can select up to five different zip codes to be alerted from.
A useful too because for officers to speeds things up.
“Oh definitely, in 15 minutes you could be out of the entire city of North Augusta, you could be in Aiken, Georgia,” Cordes said.
“Everybody uses a cell, everybody’s using it every minute of the day,” Johnson said.
For Johnson, whatever it takes to keep these little feet right were they’re supposed to be.
A certain criteria must be met before an Amber Alert is issued. You can find all that information at wirelessamberalerts.org.