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 Post subject: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Sun August 11, 2013 3:11 pm 
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It's been in the news recently because of what happened in California last week where all the celebrities and paparazzis phones went off. And it turned into a big joke.

I am not sure how it goes in other parts of the country, but here any unaccounted for kid, or kid with someone they're not supposed to be gets turned into an amber alert. And Frankly I just tune them out now. And I use the term "kid" loosely, as Ive seen it used on 16 and 17 year olds. A majority of them seem to be just used as a weapon in a custody dispute. Like "Dad was supposed to have the kid home by 5pm, and it's 7:30 and he's not answering his phone!" In this case the kids in all likelihood not in any sort of danger, and probably just running late. But instead they call it an Amber Alert and we're all supposed to be on the lookout.

Another example occurred here this morning, a 13 year old girl was at a park and didnt come home. Absolutely no information was given indicating that she was taken other than the fact she didnt go home. It was on all the local news websites and television stations about this Amber Alert. Turns out they had located her at 9:30 this morning, and all indications are she went to a friends (or a boyfriends) and forgot to leave a note (THATS WHY YOU ALWAYS LEAVE A NOTE). So it turned into yet another Amber Alert where there was no actual danger.

I think Amber Alerts should be reserved for children KNOWN to be abducted by an unknown assailant. A kid taken from a school, or a park, or a grocery store. Where you have a limited amount of information (car make, perp description, plate number, etc) where quick action from an eye witness can make the difference. Obviously the other situations still require a police investigation, but I feel like the cases where an Amber Alert may actually be helpful are getting lost in a sea of custody disputes and curfew violations. It's quickly become a lot of "boy who cried wolf" situations.

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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Sun August 11, 2013 6:00 pm 
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I got an Amber Alert on my phone for that crazy DiMaggio story. Yesterday, when all that madness went down, I also happened to be twice driving through the closest city to where it happened. "Closest", however, meant 70 miles away. So it was pretty much business as usual when I was there.


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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Sun August 11, 2013 8:23 pm 
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This is entirely anecdotal for me, but I also work at the radio station that originates Amber Alerts in Massachusetts. I think a lot of them do involve custody dispute, but I've never heard one here and gone "this is bullshit".

http://www.mass.gov/eopss/crime-prev-pe ... teria.html

Quote:
Three criteria must be met before the State Police will activate the plan:
A child, 17 years of age or younger, has been abducted;
The child is in danger of serious bodily harm, injury or death; and
There is enough descriptive information to believe that an AMBER Alert may help locate the child.

Since 2002 the Massachusetts Child AMBER Alert has been activated 15 times and successfully recovered and reunited 23 children with their families.


From what I've heard they seem to take the second and third one pretty seriously. When I heard them issued and it involves a relative there tends to be a history of violence with the adult involved, and they don't issue them unless they have a decent amount of information to give out that will help people locate/ID the person/vehicle.

All in all, I think these are a great idea, at least how I've seen them used.

Also, originating an Amber Alert from a tech standpoint is a huge pain in the ass.


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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Mon August 12, 2013 9:25 pm 
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cutuphalfdead wrote:
This is entirely anecdotal for me, but I also work at the radio station that originates Amber Alerts in Massachusetts. I think a lot of them do involve custody dispute, but I've never heard one here and gone "this is bullshit".

http://www.mass.gov/eopss/crime-prev-pe ... teria.html

Quote:
Three criteria must be met before the State Police will activate the plan:
A child, 17 years of age or younger, has been abducted;
The child is in danger of serious bodily harm, injury or death; and
There is enough descriptive information to believe that an AMBER Alert may help locate the child.

Since 2002 the Massachusetts Child AMBER Alert has been activated 15 times and successfully recovered and reunited 23 children with their families.


From what I've heard they seem to take the second and third one pretty seriously. When I heard them issued and it involves a relative there tends to be a history of violence with the adult involved, and they don't issue them unless they have a decent amount of information to give out that will help people locate/ID the person/vehicle.

All in all, I think these are a great idea, at least how I've seen them used.

Also, originating an Amber Alert from a tech standpoint is a huge pain in the ass.



Here it just seems that it's almost always a custody dispute, or a kid that just didn't come home. I got a lot of positive feedback on my twitter rant yesterday that inspired this post.

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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Mon August 12, 2013 9:29 pm 
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posting about abducting


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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Mon August 12, 2013 9:31 pm 
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I don't mind. sometimes I'm just happy to get a text message.

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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Thu August 15, 2013 6:38 pm 
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So is this 'amber alert' thing different to just reporting your child missing? Because in those scenarios, I probably wouldn't hesitate to do that.

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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Thu August 15, 2013 9:13 pm 
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harmless wrote:
So is this 'amber alert' thing different to just reporting your child missing? Because in those scenarios, I probably wouldn't hesitate to do that.

Yes, it's more than that. An Amber Alert is initiated by authorities after the child has been reported meeting and (at least in my state) certain criteria have been met (see my previous post).

What happens next is a takeover of broadcast media via our Emergency Alert System (and more recently, text messages are sent to people within the target area).

In Massachusetts, the way the EAS take over works is the message is sent from the State Police to the initiating radio station. It contains audio of a State Trooper reading the alert, in which he gives all the information they have on the child's description, who they believe the child is with, the vehicle they are thought to be in, where they were last seen, and where they believe they may be heading. For the next 8 hours, every half an hour we play that alert on the air, including alert tones all via a special piece of equipment specifically for the Emergency Alert System. Those tones are picked up by the equipment in other radio stations, and their broadcast is taken over. That way, no matter who you are listening to, you're getting the message about the missing child and can keep your eyes open for them. At the same time, this is happening on broadcast TV and cable services. On top of all this, there's the text messages that are sent (which I have yet to see happen in Massachusetts) and the alert is displayed on electronic road signs throughout the area.

It's really an amazing system when you stop and think about it. On top of all that, since we're a news station as well as the initiating radio station for the Amber Alert, it's our company policy that while an Amber Alert is active, not only do we play the official message, but the missing child becomes our lead news story at least until the alert is inactive.


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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Thu August 15, 2013 9:50 pm 
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cutuphalfdead wrote:
harmless wrote:
So is this 'amber alert' thing different to just reporting your child missing? Because in those scenarios, I probably wouldn't hesitate to do that.

Yes, it's more than that. An Amber Alert is initiated by authorities after the child has been reported meeting and (at least in my state) certain criteria have been met (see my previous post).

What happens next is a takeover of broadcast media via our Emergency Alert System (and more recently, text messages are sent to people within the target area).

In Massachusetts, the way the EAS take over works is the message is sent from the State Police to the initiating radio station. It contains audio of a State Trooper reading the alert, in which he gives all the information they have on the child's description, who they believe the child is with, the vehicle they are thought to be in, where they were last seen, and where they believe they may be heading. For the next 8 hours, every half an hour we play that alert on the air, including alert tones all via a special piece of equipment specifically for the Emergency Alert System. Those tones are picked up by the equipment in other radio stations, and their broadcast is taken over. That way, no matter who you are listening to, you're getting the message about the missing child and can keep your eyes open for them. At the same time, this is happening on broadcast TV and cable services. On top of all this, there's the text messages that are sent (which I have yet to see happen in Massachusetts) and the alert is displayed on electronic road signs throughout the area.

It's really an amazing system when you stop and think about it. On top of all that, since we're a news station as well as the initiating radio station for the Amber Alert, it's our company policy that while an Amber Alert is active, not only do we play the official message, but the missing child becomes our lead news story at least until the alert is inactive.


Well, 1) it does sound like an amazing system which 2) could be excessive in some cases, and 3) could be hilarious for any parent of a teenager who was just being an idiot and running away repeatedly.

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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Thu August 15, 2013 9:54 pm 
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harmless wrote:
cutuphalfdead wrote:
harmless wrote:
So is this 'amber alert' thing different to just reporting your child missing? Because in those scenarios, I probably wouldn't hesitate to do that.

Yes, it's more than that. An Amber Alert is initiated by authorities after the child has been reported meeting and (at least in my state) certain criteria have been met (see my previous post).

What happens next is a takeover of broadcast media via our Emergency Alert System (and more recently, text messages are sent to people within the target area).

In Massachusetts, the way the EAS take over works is the message is sent from the State Police to the initiating radio station. It contains audio of a State Trooper reading the alert, in which he gives all the information they have on the child's description, who they believe the child is with, the vehicle they are thought to be in, where they were last seen, and where they believe they may be heading. For the next 8 hours, every half an hour we play that alert on the air, including alert tones all via a special piece of equipment specifically for the Emergency Alert System. Those tones are picked up by the equipment in other radio stations, and their broadcast is taken over. That way, no matter who you are listening to, you're getting the message about the missing child and can keep your eyes open for them. At the same time, this is happening on broadcast TV and cable services. On top of all this, there's the text messages that are sent (which I have yet to see happen in Massachusetts) and the alert is displayed on electronic road signs throughout the area.

It's really an amazing system when you stop and think about it. On top of all that, since we're a news station as well as the initiating radio station for the Amber Alert, it's our company policy that while an Amber Alert is active, not only do we play the official message, but the missing child becomes our lead news story at least until the alert is inactive.


Well, 1) it does sound like an amazing system which 2) could be excessive in some cases, and 3) could be hilarious for any parent of a teenager who was just being an idiot and running away repeatedly.

From what I've seen in Massachusetts it doesn't seem to be used in cases like you say, where it's just some kid running. At least here, they seem to be pretty good with the "child is in danger of serious bodily harm, injury, or death" and have descriptive information to tell the public. Those criteria won't be met if it's just some pot smoking teenager running away.


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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Thu August 15, 2013 10:04 pm 
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the last one I got was about a girl who was abducted after her mom and brother were killed (she was later found), so its not all just custody battles.

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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Thu August 15, 2013 10:04 pm 
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cutuphalfdead wrote:
harmless wrote:
cutuphalfdead wrote:
harmless wrote:
So is this 'amber alert' thing different to just reporting your child missing? Because in those scenarios, I probably wouldn't hesitate to do that.

Yes, it's more than that. An Amber Alert is initiated by authorities after the child has been reported meeting and (at least in my state) certain criteria have been met (see my previous post).

What happens next is a takeover of broadcast media via our Emergency Alert System (and more recently, text messages are sent to people within the target area).

In Massachusetts, the way the EAS take over works is the message is sent from the State Police to the initiating radio station. It contains audio of a State Trooper reading the alert, in which he gives all the information they have on the child's description, who they believe the child is with, the vehicle they are thought to be in, where they were last seen, and where they believe they may be heading. For the next 8 hours, every half an hour we play that alert on the air, including alert tones all via a special piece of equipment specifically for the Emergency Alert System. Those tones are picked up by the equipment in other radio stations, and their broadcast is taken over. That way, no matter who you are listening to, you're getting the message about the missing child and can keep your eyes open for them. At the same time, this is happening on broadcast TV and cable services. On top of all this, there's the text messages that are sent (which I have yet to see happen in Massachusetts) and the alert is displayed on electronic road signs throughout the area.

It's really an amazing system when you stop and think about it. On top of all that, since we're a news station as well as the initiating radio station for the Amber Alert, it's our company policy that while an Amber Alert is active, not only do we play the official message, but the missing child becomes our lead news story at least until the alert is inactive.


Well, 1) it does sound like an amazing system which 2) could be excessive in some cases, and 3) could be hilarious for any parent of a teenager who was just being an idiot and running away repeatedly.

From what I've seen in Massachusetts it doesn't seem to be used in cases like you say, where it's just some kid running. At least here, they seem to be pretty good with the "child is in danger of serious bodily harm, injury, or death" and have descriptive information to tell the public. Those criteria won't be met if it's just some pot smoking teenager running away.


:thumbsup:

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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Fri August 16, 2013 1:57 am 
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BurtReynolds wrote:
the last one I got was about a girl who was abducted after her mom and brother were killed (she was later found), so its not all just custody battles.



That's kinda the scary part. Here the system has been used so many times for custody battles, people don't pay attention to the ones they should.

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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Sat August 17, 2013 1:42 am 
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http://fox40.com/2013/08/16/amber-alert-issued-throughout-california-for-young-children-taken-from-nevada/

While I suppose its possible that a terribly abusive parent might feel compelled to abduct their kids and bring their spouse along for the ride, it might be just as likely that the kids were taken from the home on flimsy grounds (especially considering the frequency of abuse and neglect within the foster system). I wouldn't be inclined to call this one in unless provided additional information. All I have outside of purportedly violating court orders is, "Martin Rosales is noted to have violent tendencies when dealing with authorities." I imagine a fair amount of parents, abusive or not might behave similarly if they felt their children were wrongly taken away from them.


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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Tue August 20, 2013 7:01 pm 
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One often wonders if an Amber Alert could have saved Adena Watson.


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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Tue August 20, 2013 8:54 pm 
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surface the north wrote:
One often wonders if an Amber Alert could have saved Adena Watson.

:shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Wed August 21, 2013 2:02 pm 
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I think Skitch is just dead inside.

They also pump Amber alerts on the digital road signs out here. I feel as though ive seen a couple of them this past summer.


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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Wed August 21, 2013 10:35 pm 
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Strat wrote:
I think Skitch is just dead inside.

They also pump Amber alerts on the digital road signs out here. I feel as though ive seen a couple of them this past summer.



I think the concept of Amber Alerts is great. The problem is, around here, they have been abused to the point of being meaningless.

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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 5:51 am 
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@SkitchP wrote:
Strat wrote:
I think Skitch is just dead inside.

They also pump Amber alerts on the digital road signs out here. I feel as though ive seen a couple of them this past summer.



I think the concept of Amber Alerts is great. The problem is, around here, they have been abused to the point of being meaningless.

Is that a general consensus or just the view of a gravedigger?


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 Post subject: Re: Amber Alerts
PostPosted: Thu August 22, 2013 6:03 am 
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@SkitchP wrote:
Strat wrote:
I think Skitch is just dead inside.

They also pump Amber alerts on the digital road signs out here. I feel as though ive seen a couple of them this past summer.



I think the concept of Amber Alerts is great. The problem is, around here, they have been abused to the point of being meaningless.


I would concur. While I cannot find a follow up for the story I posted above (and would love it if anyone has found it), this should be limited to those who pose an actual risk, like the guy that killed the mother and brother and abducted the daughter. If this involves custodial parents in some sort of tiff, it seems like a waste of resources. A history of violence towards agents of the state, (say talking loudly towards CPS workers bent on taking your child) is a poor indicator of violence towards the child without additional information.


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