Senate Passes "amber Alert" Legislation

Hugh T. Farley

June 08, 2005

State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R,C - Schenectady) reported the New York State Senate gave final legislative passage this week to a bill that would help every community in the state implement Amber Alert plans to respond immediately to missing child reports.

"When a child is missing, every second counts and a prompt response can make a potentially life saving difference," Senator Dean Skelos, sponsor of the bill,said. "This bill would direct the Division of Criminal Justice Services to provide localities with the information, training and assistance necessary to implement Amber Alert plans, with the goal of having the best response plans effective in every community in the state."

"The Amber Alert missing child response program is not being used by every municipality that could use it," Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said. "This bill is a positive step to implement the plan throughout the state and save the lives of children who are in danger. Every community in the state should have an Amber Alert plan in place, and if they don't, this bill will help make it happen."

Under current law, the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) is only required to provide local governments and police departments with information and assistance about the Amber Alert program. This bill (S.5470) would expand the requirements by directing DCJS to help communities implement and operate the response plans with the goal of helping to implement Amber Alert plans in every jurisdiction in New York.

The Amber Alert program was established by state law in 2002 to create a system of prompt media alerts in cases where children are missing so that abducted persons can be quickly identified and rescued. It has a proven track record around the nation of preventing child abduction and apprehending perpetrators.

"While the Senate continues to fight for better laws to protect our children, parents must also take steps to safeguard their children. Note when someone pays your child a great deal of attention. If there is not a logical reason, be cautious of this person. Ensure your child's day care center or school will not release your child to anyone but you, your spouse or someone you have designated. Instruct the school to call you if your child does not arrive on any given day without prior notification of absence," Senator Farley said.

The bill will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.