Governor Ivey Requests Change in AMBER Alert Criteria After Bessemer Incident
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – On April 19, Bessemer police requested the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to issue an AMBER Alert for a missing child who was inside a vehicle when it was stolen from a convenience store parking lot.
Based on the criteria for an AMBER Alert that were in place at that time, the incident did not meet the requirements for an alert to be issued.
Governor Kay Ivey asked ALEA Acting Secretary Hal Taylor to revise the state’s AMBER Alert Guidelines after reviewing the situation.
Secretary Taylor announced Friday that the finding of an “abduction” shall no longer be required for an AMBER Alert to be issued.
Beginning today, Alabama’s policy will mirror the United States Department of Justice’s recommended criteria for issuing AMBER Alerts.
This policy change will result in more AMBER Alerts being issued in the state. This will insure that missing children are found more quickly due to the public’s having been informed faster about a child’s disappearance.
“We need to protect the children of our state. Though we pray that an AMBER Alert is never needed, I asked Secretary Taylor to broaden the scope of our AMBER Alert requirements to safeguard as many children as possible,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “This change today ensures that we are keeping the public better informed. AMBER Alerts give all Alabamians the opportunity to be involved in caring for our most vulnerable asset, our children.”
“It is the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s goal to rescue abducted and missing children. By expanding our criteria for issuing an AMBER alert, we will further that goal, and hopefully, make sure that as many vulnerable children as possible are protected from those whom would do them harm,” ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor added. “Due to ongoing investigations, we may not always release why an alert may or may not be issued, but we will ensure that all cases are evaluated against this new standard.”
Whenever a local law enforcement agency believes an AMBER Alert may be needed, it should immediately contact the 24-hour Alabama Missing Person’s Hotline at (800) 228-7688.
The new Alabama AMBER Alert guidelines are in effect immediately.