The AMBER alert system began in Texas in the mid 1990s and has grown from small town partnership to satellite system. According to the Office of Justice program website AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. The acronym was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and then brutally murdered.
The wireless AMBER alert system was introduced in December to send alerts automatically based on cell phone location. It is a nationwide program operated by FEMA, the FCC and commercial cellular companies. Last night some of you may have received an AMBER alert on your phone. The alert originated in California, then was sent out in Oregon and then statewide here in Washington, as they believed the suspect was heading up to Canada. Ross Reynolds talks with Washington State Patrol's program manager for the Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit, Carrie Gordon, about how the cellular alerts work.