Amber Alert System Finds Home On Facebook

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

This week marks the 15th anniversary of the Amber Hagerman case. Back in 1996, the 9-year-old was abducted from the parking lot of a vacant grocery store in Arlington and murdered. The killer has never been found but Hagerman's case prompted the creation of the Amber Alert system. That system took another step Wednesday in alerting the public about child abductions.

Everyday millions upon millions of people log on to Facebook. Now those millions have a chance to get localized Amber Alerts.

In an announcement streamed live over Facebook, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children announced the partnership between Facebook and the Amber Alert system.

"The goal is to focus on the most serious cases where the child is at greatest risk. And where there is key descriptive information to provide to the public," said Ernie Allen, CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

"There is only so many police officers that are available to be out there looking for something. This engages the public," said Lieutenant Charles Fleeger with the College Station Police Department. Fleeger was named the AMBER Alert Coordinator of the Year by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010. He has seen first hand what the Amber Alert system can do.

"There have been documented cases where the abductor has heard the Amber Alert and has simply released a child and left as oppose to continuing with the crime," said Fleeger

But the Amber Alert's real power comes from the people keeping an eye on Facebook and keeping an eye on their surroundings.

"Average people doing average things are bringing children home everyday," said Allen.

In 2009 the Amber Alert system was implemented 207 times in reference to 263 missing children. 246 of those children were found safe and sound but nine were found dead while eight were never found at all. If you'd like to sign up for the Amber Alert on Facebook, we've got a link to their Texas Amber Alert Facebook page below.

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