A Portal With A Mission
In August, the state of Kentucky started using the Amber Alert Portal for the processing of Amber Alerts, joining six other states–Arizona, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The year-old portal is a Web-based, centralized data-processing tool that instantly sends alerts and updates to various media outlets and law enforcement groups.
ESRI, one of the firms that helped develop the portal, has also created technology that will allow users to examine potential routes of suspected kidnappers.
The Amber Alert Consortium of government and private sector groups wants more states to join the portal initiative, says Granger Whitelaw, head of the consortium and a founding member. He hopes to get at least 17 states on board by the end of 2005 and all 50 by the second quarter of 2006.
The portal effort was launched two years ago when the state of Washington teamed up with a tech firm called E2C, which subsequently enlisted the help of vendors such as Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Symantec, and Limelight.
E2C COO Todd Sander says many states are reluctant to join the consortium because they fear the system will not be reliable. Sander contends this is false because source code for the system is escrowed and overseen by the states, so they will not be at risk if E2C fails.
The use of open-source software such as the Linux operating system also assures the system’s continuance.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from nformationWeek (09/05/05) P. GE14; Cuneo, Eileen Colkin .