Ashanti Alert: Local police react to new nationwide alert system for missing adults

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - President Trump signed a new law into action December 31st to help find certain missing adults ages 18 to 65. This new public notification system will work like the current amber and silver alerts. Lawmakers took action after 19-year-old Ashanti Billie was abducted in Virginia in 2017.

The Ashanti Alert will have criteria similar to the other two alerts and assist local and regional law enforcement in locating certain adults.

"We feel that it's going to be a great opportunity a great tool to close that gap," says Huntsville Police Department spokesperson, Lt. Michael Johnson.

Huntsville police say even when a certain alert can't be issued, law enforcement is still working to solve all missing persons cases.

"What is missing when it falls outside of that criteria of Amber Alert is the fact that we don't have a communication system set up. So there's not immediate notification but we're still investigating the case," says Johnson.

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Huntsville Police Department says the new Ashanti Alert system will be a great tool in helping locate missing adults in this age group.

"We can't do it without the public. It gives us the ability to track in real time those real tips that come in and give us locations of possible signs of the vehicle possible signs of the person and it gives us a great way to locate these people a lot quicker," says Johnson.

With all of missing persons cases, police say alert systems like this help the general public take notice of serious cases.

"If you take collectively all the missing persons cases all the missing children cases that are every single day across this country, you really have to vet those because otherwise they would not be taken seriously," said Johnson. "Those communication systems require a lot of manpower to get those messages out they probably would not be taken quite so seriously by the general public. We’re hoping when the Department of Justice gets this put together, it’ll be a system worthy of getting the public's attention."

The Department of Justice needs to establish a national communication network before implementing this new alert system.

Click here for our sister station's full coverage on the disappearance of Ashanti Billie.

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