Amber alert: Faster, better
Utah is now using new technology to make sure AMBER Alerts go out even faster when a child is abducted. The public can sign up to get the alerts through the Law Enforcement Alerting Portal (LEAP), a high-speed system that sends alerts through email, text, fax and RSS feeds.
Utah launched the AMBER Alert Program in 2002 and one year later was one of the first states to notify the public by email and text messages. However, as the number of people who signed up to receive the alerts got bigger the system became slower.
"The need for speed cannot be overemphasized when it comes to the AMBER Alert," says Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. "LEAP is once again giving us the ability to notify the public immediately when a child has been taken."
The need for the portal became evident when Utah's AMBER Alert Program was tested on August 26. The test alert was severely delayed because two computer servers went down. LEAP was also tested at the same time and the portal was able to quickly disseminate the alerts.
Another obstacle was finding a 24/7 operation that could enter the information into LEAP. The telecommunicators at the Department of Public Safety Communications Center in Salt Lake City agreed to take over this important function.
"I think everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to bring an abducted child home," says Department of Public Safety Commissioner Lance Davenport. "I am pleased with what our employees have done and will continue to do to keep Utah children safe."
Amber Alert GPS, a Utah company that uses technology to help parents protect children, operates LEAP and is providing the service for free to Utah and other states. The portal is known for its reliability, redundancy, stability, speed and efficiency.
"Amber Alert GPS is honored to partner with the state of Utah to facilitate the delivery of AMBER Alerts statewide," says AMBER Alert GPS CEO Carol Colombo "We are looking forward to supporting Utah's AMBER Alert program, and helping law enforcement bring these children home safe."
LEAP will be the primary provider for AMBER Alerts to the public and a secondary provider for AMBER Alert partners. The Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification will continue be the primary provider of AMBER Alerts to law enforcement, broadcasters and AMBER Alert partners using the Utah Criminal Justice Information System (UCJIS).
The public is encouraged to sign up to receive the alerts on their computers and cell phones by going to this site: http://bit.ly/5hl43n.