TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Following a Wichita Amber Alert yesterday during which cellphone alerts failed, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt ordered a top-to-bottom review of Kansas Amber Alert operations.
Schmidt asked KBI Director Kirk Thompson to conduct a complete review of the program and report not later than January 31, 2017, on steps that will be taken to ensure the reliability of future Amber Alerts.
“The Amber Alert program is a vital public safety tool,” Schmidt said. “During the critical time of need when a child has been abducted, there is no room for error. Any mistake or procedural failure, regardless of its cause, that results in an Amber Alert being less than fully implemented and effective in a timely manner is unacceptable and must be addressed.”
As part of the review, Schmidt asked Thompson to convene a meeting of the full Amber Alert Advisory Board to ensure all Amber Alert partners have the opportunity for input.
The Amber Alert program, begun in 1996, provides immediate, multi-media notice to the public when a child has been abducted and certain criteria are met in order to obtain timely information from the public that can help safely recover the child.
In the Wichita situation yesterday, three children and a mother were reported abducted from their home. Soon after the abduction was reported, in the middle of the night, an Amber Alert was issued. But one method of broadcasting the Amber Alert – by special signal that activates individuals’ cellphones – failed to activate.
A copy of AG Schmidt’s letter to Director Thompson ordering the Amber Alert review is available at here or below.