Officials: False Amber Alert Caused by Human Error

By: David Norris Email
By: David Norris Email

BRYAN, Texas An Amber Alert in Bryan that turned out to be a false alarm had residents on edge Wednesday morning.

The Amber Alert was issued from Brazos County Dispatch to radio and television stations, which then broadcasted it to nine counties in the Brazos Valley.

The alert warned a child had been abducted from Jane Long Middle School, just off 2818 in Bryan.

Brazos County Dispatch officials said they're required to test the alarm system every week, and a supervisor who was supposed to send out the test accidentally sent out the real Amber Alert instead. The message attached to the alert was an older alert. Dispatch officials said it was from an older alert, and when the Amber Alert is called up on the computer system, that message was still attached. It's a default setting that they're now looking to change.

Once authorities got the word out about the mistake, Lance Parr with the Emergency Alert System, District 14 called a meeting with officials from Brazos County Dispatch.

Parr said the meeting was meant to determine what went wrong with the system and make sure it doesn't happen again.

"In this case, it was just a mistake, human error," said Patrick Corley with Brazos County Dispatch. "Everything with the system is working as it should."

Corley said this is a good chance to get better at what they do.

"We want to approach this from a training perspective," said Corley. "Take this opportunity to go back to our supervisors and other folks that work in dispatch, and make sure everyone is clear about procedures we need to follow when we do this weekly test."

Parr said even though the mistake was caused by human error, he would never consider taking humans out of the equation.

"Yes, humans are not infallible, mistakes can occur and that did happen today," said Parr. "But we're going to take a look at the system and the procedures. We'll look at software settings, we'll look at the manner in which the tests are conducted each week, and tweak that a little bit and try and make sure we don't have a possibility of this happening again."

Local emergency officials stress that they want people to continue to trust the Amber Alert System, despite the mistake made on Wednesday.

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