New York State PoliceAMBERAlertMed(2)

(Oneida, NY – April 2013) An AMBER Alert is an emergency alert activated in the most serious child abduction cases and has been used in New York state since 2002. A new notification system allows thousands of cell phone users across New York state to receive free, automatic AMBER Alert notifications.

The automated alerts are now possible through the National Wireless Emergency Alert System; New York became part of WEA Dec. 31. The WEA system uses the latest technology to send messages to wireless customers with WEA-capable phones in an area where an alert has been activated.

When receiving one of these messages, the phone will emit an audible tone unique to WEA and then display an AMBER Alert. The message is not in the form of a text message. It is a full-screen alert that will provide limited details.

For more details, the public can subscribe to receive free AMBER Alert text messages by going to the NY Alert website and creating an account. The account can be customized to receive alerts in the form of text messages, fax or email.

Many cell phone users do not know their phones even have this feature, and the wireless industry has indicated that all cell phones are expected to be WEA capable in 2013.

“WEA is another tool that greatly enhances the public’s ability to play a role in the recovery of an abducted child,” said state police Senior Investigator Gary Kelly, AMBER Alert Coordinator. “With the AMBER Alert information in their hands, the public can now immediately help in the search for the child.”

Through the use of NY Alert, when police believe a child under the age of 18 has been abducted and is in imminent danger of death or serious harm, an AMBER Alert is sent out.

The AMBER Alert plan was created in Texas in 1996 as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was kidnapped and murdered while riding her bicycle. The AMBER Alert program was started in New York in 2002 and is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement, broadcasters and others to immediately involve the public in the search for an abducted child.

Since the inception of the AMBER Alert plan in New York State in 2002, there have been 43 AMBER Alert activations involving 52 children. All of those children have been safely returned home. In 19 of those cases, the AMBER Alert activation played a direct role in the recovery of the child.

Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith represents the New York State Sheriffs Association on the AMBER Alert Committee.

“After each activation of an AMBER Alert in New York State, we conduct a thorough after action review to determine the lessons learned from each experience,” Smith said. “An overarching theme for each one is the importance of the public’s participation in helping law enforcement recover an abducted child. Adding New York alert notifications and input to our toolbox will vastly improve an already successful AMBER Alert Program.”

To learn more about the New York State AMBER Alert program, visit or To sign up for NY Alert, visit

New York state AMBER Alert partners include state police, state Division of Criminal Justice Services, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, state Emergency Management Office, state Department of Transportation, state Department of Motor Vehicles, state Lottery, state Thruway Authority, New York State Broadcasters Association, New York State Association of Chiefs of Police and the New York State Sheriffs’ Association.

For more information, contact the state police Public Information Office at 518.457.2180.

By martha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.