AMBER Alert ("America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response") Background:
In 1996, the AMBER Alert emergency broadcast program was created and named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered in Texas. Shortly after this incident, residents of her Arlington, Texas hometown requested that radio stations in that area broadcast special "alerts" when such incidents took place in the future. The AMBER Plan is now in place in many communities across the country and is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and broadcasters. This plan is designed to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child abduction cases. This is the same concept used during severe weather emergencies. The goal of the AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe return of the child. Statistics continue to prove that time is our greatest adversary when a child is abducted. According to a study by the United States Department of Justice, 74 percent of the children who were kidnapped and later found murdered were killed in the first three hours after being taken.
Creating the South Carolina AMBER Alert system is an effort to enhance law enforcement’s ability to respond to child abductions, to quickly enlist assistance from communities, and to hopefully result in the quick and safe recovery of abducted children. The Alert mechanism is a cooperative effort between South Carolina law enforcement personnel and South Carolina broadcasters, and allows for the quick dissemination of an urgent bulletin in child abduction cases. Radio and television stations, under the South Carolina AMBER Alert system, will immediately interrupt their regular programming to broadcast information about a child’s abduction. The quick dissemination of this information is critical in the effort to save the lives of abducted children.