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Friday, January 13, 2006

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children honors Amber Alert Awareness Day (press release)


National Center for Missing and Exploited Children honors Amber Alert Awareness Day (press release)


Today is the National Amber Alert Awareness Day. The National Center for Missing and Explotied Children announced this press release.

NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN

OBSERVES AMBER ALERT AWARENESS DAY

AMBER Alerts Help Recover 241 Abducted Children

January 13, 2006 – Washington, DC – Today, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) joined the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S Postal Service in observing AMBER Alert Awareness Day. AMBER Alerts have helped to recover 241 abducted children. Ten years ago today 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, for whom the AMBER Alert program is named, was abducted and brutally murdered in Arlington, Texas. To commemorate this tragedy and acknowledge the life-saving program that was born from it, NCMEC participated in a special ceremony which honored Amber’s legacy and unveiled the new AMBER Alert stamp.

At an event held at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC, NCMEC President and CEO Ernie Allen accepted an award from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for the development and operation of the AMBER Alert Secondary Distribution system. This secure system, created by NCMEC at the direction of DOJ in March 2005, redistributes AMBER Alerts issued by law enforcement to secondary distributors such as online service providers and wireless devices. The system is hosted by Intrado, a global provider of integrated data and telecommunications solutions. It allows citizens to receive geographically targeted AMBER Alerts, increasing dramatically the number of people who can be on the look out for abducted children.

“I am honored to accept this award for the AMBER Alert Secondary Distribution program,” said Mr. Allen. “We are confident that this program will continue to honor Amber Hagerman’s legacy by assisting in even more successful recoveries of abducted children.”

Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA – The Wireless Association and president of the Wireless Foundation, also accepted an award for CTIA’s development of Wireless AMBER AlertsTM. Wireless subscribers who can receive text messages and whose wireless carrier participates in the Wireless AMBER Alerts Initiative can receive Alerts by registering at www.wirelessamberalerts.org or their wireless carrier’s website. Subscribers can designate up to five geographic areas from which they would like to receive Wireless AMBER Alerts.

Amber Hagerman’s mother, Donna Norris, also attended the event and was presented with a plaque in memory of Amber and on behalf of the 241 children who have been safely recovered as a direct result of the AMBER Alert program. Mrs. Norris was also presented with framed copy of the new AMBER Alert stamp by Deputy Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe of the United State Postal Service. The stamp will be in public circulation in May of this year.

The AMBER Alert program is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, and transportation agencies. The program activates an urgent bulletin in the most serious child abduction cases. Instantly, a description of the abducted child and the suspected abductor is broadcast to millions of media listeners and viewers. The goal of the AMBER Alert is to rapidly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search and safe return of the child and apprehension of the predator.

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
NCMEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. NCMEC's congressionally mandated CyberTipline, a reporting mechanism for child sexual exploitation, has handled more than 350,000 leads. Since its establishment in 1984, NCMEC has assisted law enforcement with more than 111,000 missing child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 96,900 children. For more information about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com.

CONTACT:
Communications Department
NCMEC
703-837-6111
Media@ncmec.org

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