Amber Alerts Will Be Sent To Cell Phones
Cell phone customers will soon be able to sign up with their wireless phone providers to receive zip code-based Amber Alerts from nationwide law enforcement agencies; the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children sends out about 200 Amber Alerts per year.
The wireless industry hopes to quickly find lost or abducted children by turning its millions of customers into a nationwide search party. Verizon does not plan to charge for the service, but charges from other providers remain unknown.
Former FBI special agent Oscar Westerfield is concerned that the widespread Amber Alerts distributed to wireless cell phone customers could cause an overwhelming response that leads to police officers chasing an increasing number of false leads.
Without charge, telecommunications company Syniverse will receive Amber Alerts from law enforcement departments, locate wireless customers near targeted areas, and transmit text messages about the case. Wireless customers wishing to participate can sign up online or via their wireless providers.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Tampa Tribune (05/17/05); Mullins, Richard .