State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R,C - Schenectady) is pleased to announce a new law that requires the State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to aid local governments and law enforcement agencies in planning for potential child abduction cases in their area.
"This latest development strengthens New York's Amber Alert Plan," Senator Farley said. "Statistics consistently show that time is of the essence and is one of the most crucial factors in finding a missing child. Bringing all law enforcement agencies together to share their knowledge and to formulate a plan ahead of time makes executing it easier and more efficient when the worst possible scenario occurs."
Senator Farley added that recently an Amber Alert was issued during the weekend of August 20th and 21st for a seven-year-old Albany girl who was found in the Binghamton area. "She was found in a quick time span unharmed," Senator Farley said, "proving Amber Alerts are effective."
An Amber Alert Plan is put into action once law enforcement has been notified about an abducted child. Information, such as pictures or descriptions of the missing child and the suspected abductor, is transmitted to area radio and television stations and cable systems. The plan was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and brutally murdered while riding her bicycle in Texas. Concerned citizens of the community formulated the idea of repeating news bulletins about abducted children, just as is done when severe weather warnings are in effect.
"Last year, New York also made it law that the Amber Alert would be disseminated via e-mail, cell phones and text messaging," Senator Farley said. "This allows more people to receive the news that a child is missing. The more eyes that are out there looking for the youth, the more likely the child will be spotted."
People can sign up for the Amber Alert e-mails by visiting the DCJS website at http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/missing/alerts/index.htm.
"My office recently provided free child identification brochures and helped the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department fingerprint about a dozen children at the Aug. 20th Back-to-School fair in Amsterdam. These brochures allow parents to keep useful and current information in one place so if their child goes missing, the information is readily available to hand over to law enforcement," Senator Farley said.
To obtain free copies of the brochure, call Senator Farley at 455-2181 (Albany), 843-2188 (Amsterdam), 762-3733 (Johnstown) or toll-free at (800) 224-5201.
"I hope you never have to use this booklet, but compiling the information will surely help in a quicker and safer return of a child in case your worst nightmare does happen," Senator Farley said.
The following are some tips from Senator Farley that can help protect and educate children about safety.
* Make sure your child knows his/her name, address and telephone number. Also make sure he/she knows where you can be reached when you aren't with him/her.
* Establish a secret code word for situations when your child is to be picked up by someone other than you. Tell your child not to give out the word -- sometimes predators try to trick kids into telling.
* Tell your child the importance of dialing 911. Stress to them that calling this number is not a game and is for emergencies only.
* If your child is home alone, stress to them to never open the door for anyone.
* Don't put your child's name on the outside of clothing, books, bags, etc. An abductor can see the name and pretend to know your child since he knows the youth's name.