Michigan's Amber Alert Receives Grant From At&T
Program Receives Enhancements to Continue Reuniting Families
LANSING. The technology used to disseminate Amber Alerts in Michigan will receive a much-needed upgrade thanks to a $77,000 grant from AT&T Michigan. AT&T Michigan President Gail Torreano joined representatives from the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters to announce the enhancements today at the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing.
"A missing child is every parent's worst nightmare," said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. "I applaud the commitment of AT&T Michigan to partner with law enforcement and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters to expand and upgrade our Amber Alert system to help keep our children safe."
Michigan’s Amber Alert Plan, which has been in operation since June 2001, is a voluntary cooperative effort between law enforcement and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters to quickly publicize cases of abducted or endangered missing children. Considering the first twenty-four hours in a missing child or an abduction case is critical, having the means to alert the public via the broadcast media seven days a week, 24-hours a day, greatly enhances law enforcement’s ability to safely locate endangered missing children.
The program currently uses broadcast fax to send alerts to the media. With this grant, Michigan’s Amber Alert Plan will be able to utilize the Michigan Emergency Alert System (EAS) to disseminate active alerts to broadcasters. When the upgrade is complete, listeners will hear a special tone designed to indicate an active alert, followed by a pre-recorded message with the alert information.
"Michigan Broadcasters are grateful for the support from AT&T for the Amber Alert Program," said Karole L. White, president and CEO of the MAB. "With this upgrade we will improve our ability to get Alerts out quickly and accurately to the public. We are also pleased to welcome the participation of thousands of AT&T employees who will receive the Alerts as they are issued."
AT&T also announced they have implemented technology to simultaneously page the company’s more than 3,300 field technicians and managers across the state with Amber Alerts to assist in the search for endangered missing children. The system alerts the employees via broadcast messages on their Intelligent Field Device (IFD), a type of laptop computer, as well as with alpha-numeric pages. The information is transmitted to the AT&T employees at the same time the news media and law enforcement are notified of an Amber Alert.
"AT&T's 13,000 employees throughout Michigan offer a built-in asset for the Amber Alert system in Michigan," said Torreano. "Building our own internal Amber Alert infrastructure to connect with and supplement the state’s system was a priority for AT&T. We are proud to have thousands of employees working in communities throughout our state everyday, which offers unique opportunities that could help locate missing children."
Michigan’s Amber Alert plan has been activated for 133 abducted or endangered missing children, with 127 children returning safely. In 2005, Michigan’s Amber Alert plan was activated for 47 endangered missing children.
"Amber Alert is a valuable tool for law enforcement in the search and recovery of abducted and endangered missing children," stated Colonel Tadarial J. Sturdivant, director of the Michigan State Police. "By enlisting the help of broadcasters, citizens and now AT&T employees, law enforcement gains thousands of eyes and ears, which more times than not, results in a lost child being returned home safely."
For more information on Michigan’s Amber Alert plan, visit http://www.michigan.gov/msp.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:Sgt. Greg Jones, Michigan State Police, Prevention Services Section, (517) 333-4017
Karole White, President, Michigan Association of Broadcasters, (517) 484-7444
Laura Seelbach, AT&T Michigan, (313) 310-8909