|September 5, 2002|
Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX-12) joined Democratic Caucus Chair Martin Frost (TX-24) and Representative Jennifer Dunn (WA-08) to introduce bipartisan legislation to establish nationwide coordination for the AMBER Alert communications network. In the Senate, Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) have introduced similar legislation.
Congresswoman Granger stated, "We must do everything we can to protect our children from violence. The AMBER Alert network has an excellent track record in the communities that have implemented the system. This bill will grow this successful program nationwide, so that all our children will be safer."
The AMBER Alert Act would establish a Coordinator at the Department of Justice to implement state and local AMBER Plans and direct regional coordination between AMBER Alerts. It also provides grants to update technology, such as electronic road signs, to help spread alerts. Finally, it makes funding available for Alert-related education, training and law enforcement programs and equipment.
The original AMBER Alert was created by North Texas law enforcement and broadcasters in 1997 after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted in Arlington, Texas, and murdered. Over the past 5 years, some 50 alerts have been issued in North Texas, helping recover at least 14 abducted children. Around the nation, 53 plans exist, and they have helped recover at least 27 children.