Alaska's Amber Alert system almost ready

Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) The state's Amber Alert system should be up and running by the first of the year, Alaska State Troopers said.

Alaska is one of just five states without the child abduction emergency alert system. The state troopers and the Alaska Broadcasters Association have been working to set up the program here.

Officials said so far, the state has set up a Web site and 800-number for parents to report an abducted child, and other technical work has been done.

''A lot of groundwork has already been done,'' Darlene Simono with the Alaska Broadcasters Association told television station KTUU. ''Broadcasters are aware of the program. We're waiting right now just to coordinate it with our state government officials.''

''What we need now is to take it to the final step,'' trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said. That includes deciding on final protocols and making agreements with local law enforcement agencies, he said.

Challenges for designers of the system in Alaska include coordinating with airport security officers, customs at the border, small villages and military personnel.

The Amber Alert systems were named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old Texas girl who was kidnapped and killed in 1996.

The systems are designed to send out messages through television, radio, and electronic signs when a child is reported abducted.

Hawaii, Idaho, North Carolina and Wyoming are the other states without an Amber Alert system.

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