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by Rick Wimberly: Best practices for emergency notification programs

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Abducted Child Found Thanks to Teen and CMAS/WEA AMBER Alert
February 21, 2013
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In Minneapolis, MN yesterday, officials issued their first AMBER Alert through CMAS/WEA to help locate a missing child. At approximately 3:00 p.m., mobile device users across the state received a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) about the abduction of 8-month-old Carlos Orosco.  Within an hour, the suspect’s vehicle was located and the child was on its way to being reunited with its mother. 

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said the system, coupled with quick thinking by a local teen, can be credited with helping police find the suspect as quickly as they did.   A Minneapolis teenager, Daisy Buenrostro, said she recalled seeing the AMBER alert on her father's cell phone just prior to her identifying the suspect's car driving by her home.  She ran into the house and told her father, who subsequently called 9-1-1 to report the suspect.  Police were able to capture the suspect soon after with the boy unharmed.

Officials were also praised for their use of the system in coordination with other public notification methods.  An article in the local paper said 110 billboards across the state also displayed the AMBER alert and presented information on the suspect’s vehicle.

"It was very effective because I looked at the phone and saw the AMBER Alert, and what's interesting -- just five seconds before, I also saw the AMBER Alert on a highway sign," said Julio Ojeda-Zapata, a local technology reporter. "They're doing it right. You can't ignore AMBER Alerts these days."

Good work by Minnesota officials, and many kudos to Daisy Buenrostro for her decisive action.  This story is a strong testament to the power of Wireless Emergency Alerts.

Best regards,

Lorin

 

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