Michigan AMBER Alert Awareness Week

LANSING. As part of Michigan AMBER Alert Awareness Week, the Michigan State Police (MSP) is seeking to educate citizens about the Michigan AMBER Alert System and provide tips to help keep children safe.

AMBER Alert of Michigan is a non-profit organization dedicated to being a liaison between law enforcement and the media to help in the immediate dissemination of information to the public about a missing child.

AMBER Alert of Michigan has been operating since June 2001. More than 320 children have been recovered and returned home safely through the state’s AMBER alert system.

The MSP suggests the following tips to help parents keep their children safe:

•Parents should teach their children that if something makes them feel uneasy or uncomfortable, they should get away quickly and tell their parents or a trusted adult about what happened.

•Parents should teach their children that it is okay to be suspicious of an adult asking for assistance, since many child predators use this technique to isolate and distract a possible child victim.

•Children should know their home address and telephone number, and know how to contact their parents if there is an emergency.

•Parents should teach their children how to dial “911” when asking for help in an emergency.

Since January 2013, millions of cell phone users across the country can now receive free, automatic notifications about abducted children in their area through the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system.  The first 48 hours following the disappearance of a child are the most critical in terms of finding and returning that child safely home.

Consumers with WEA capable cell phones are automatically enrolled to receive free WEA text messages for AMBER Alerts, along with Presidential and Imminent Threat Alerts. For more information on the WEA system, visit www.fema.gov.

The Michigan AMBER Alert System is activated by the MSP when an endangered person under 17 years of age is missing and when the following circumstances exist:

•The child suffers from a severe mental or physical disability that greatly impairs the child’s ability to care for him/herself.

•The child is a victim of a stranger or acquaintance kidnapping.

•The child is in the company of a person who has a confirmed criminal history of child abuse/neglect, sexual assault, domestic assault, a crime involving the victimization of children, has made statements of intent to harm the missing child or is suicidal.

•The child has been abducted by a non-custodial parent whose parental rights have been terminated.

Throughout Michigan AMBER Alert Awareness Week, the Michigan State Police encourages you to learn more about the Michigan Amber Alert System by visiting www.michigan.gov/msp and to keep up to date on active AMBER alerts in Michigan at www.amberalertmichigan.org.

AMBER Alert of Michigan is supported by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association and the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.