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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
6:38 PM Fri, Sept. 21st

Editorial: Don't ignore this message ... it is truly life or death

Did your cell phone alarm scare the daylights out of you Monday? I know when the Amber Alert alarm was issued for Cassidy Hayes, everyone jumped out of their skins in our office.

The initial scare was worth it, however, when the alert was canceled after a sharp Department of Public Safety officer spotted the car involved.

What a fabulous tool to have on our cell phones.

You can pretty much guarantee when you hear an Amber Alert, it's a serious issue. Police must meet certain criteria before one is allowed to be broadcast. Each state has their own, but they mostly follow these Department of Justice guidelines:

Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place;

The child is at risk of serious injury or death;

There is sufficient descriptive information of child, captor, or captor's vehicle to issue an alert; and,

The child must be 17 years old or younger.

It is recommended that immediate entry of Amber Alert data be entered in FBI's National Crime Information Center. Text information describing the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the child should be entered, and the case flagged as Child Abduction.

Just as a reminder, "the Amber Alert System began in 1996 when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. AMBER stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and then brutally murdered. Other states and communities soon set up their own Amber plans as the idea was adopted across the nation," according to amberalert.gov.

We have so much information being aimed our way all day, every day, that it is easy to become "blind" to what messages are out there.

Amber Alerts are ones we need to take a second and read. You aren't being sold something and these aren't Peter crying "wolf" alarmist messages ... there is a child in danger somewhere.

It could just as easily have been you or your spouse who saw that gold Subaru and called 911 .. and possibly saved a life.

- Robin Layton, editor

Follow Robin Layton on Twitter @RobinLaytonAZ. Reach her at 928-445-3333 ext. 1095, rlayton@prescottaz.com