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The milestones in Amber Alert history are big. But it all started with just one little girl.
Amber Hagerman’s story is a sad one. She was in Arlington, Texas visiting grandparents on January 13, 1996. She went for a bike ride and within 8 minutes she was kidnapped. Four days later, she was found – murdered and molested.
Her killer has never been found.
It was a joint effort.
Amber’s dad (Richard Hagerman) and her friend’s dad (Bruce Seybert) shared an idea at a media symposium in Arlington later that year.
They shared how the police and media could work together to alert citizens of missing kids. Since most murders of missing children happen within the first few hours, finding them quickly is vital to the operation.
One reporter from a local radio station took the suggestion to the chief of police in Dallas... and that is how it all began.
Texas ran the first Amber Alert in 1996. By 2002, 14 states had their own plans in place for rescuing abducted children. Alberta, Canada implemented their first Amber Alert that same year.
In 2003, the Amber Alert was signed into United States federal law – 41 states already had it in place.
The law took full effect in 2005 when Hawaii was finally able to overcome some unique obstacles… being several islands and so far away from other “bordering” states.
Canada was a year quicker – in 2004, Saskatchewan was the last province to implement the Amber Alert plan.
Far from it! The Amber Alert traveled over seas...
Sussex was the first in the United Kingdom to have an abducted child alert system in 2002.
Northwest England also implemented the Amber Alert in 2007. Three years later, Britain launched their own national alert system – the Child Rescue Alert.
Now the Amber Alert and versions of it are used not only in the UK and Canada, but in other countries throughout the world: Australia, France, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Ireland, and more will undoubtedly follow!
The Amber Alert is again making history, but now it is in the electronic world. You can get Amber Alerts on your cell phone, website, pager, fax machine, and more.
Isn't it amazing what a big impact a little girl's legacy can make?
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