AMBER Alert System Operating Despite Government Shutdown - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

AMBER Alert System Operating Despite Government Shutdown

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OLYMPIA, WA. - The Washington State Patrol wants to make sure the public and law enforcement agencies know the AMBER Alert system is up and running, despite the shutdown of the federal government.

The AMBER Alert Coordinator for the Washington State Patrol, Carri Gordon, says the agency has heard several concerns about the status of the system. However, Gorden says AMBER Alerts are in full operation, and ready to help recover any child who has been abducted.

Although there is some federal coordination for the overall AMBER Alert program nationwide, each individual state has its own distribution system for how it sends out the alerts. AMBER alerts in Washington alerts are sent out and distributed by a private contractor, which is in no way affected by the federal government shutdown.

In Washington state, there are two new additional alerts to help people out of dangerous situations. The first, are the Endangered Missing Person Advisories. The advisories allow law enforcement officers to seek help from the public to find people who have gone missing, when the disappearance does not fit the criteria for an AMBER Alert.

The second, are Blue Alerts. Blue Alerts provide information so law enforcement can get help finding people suspected of assaulting or killing an law enforcement officer.

To qualify for an AMBER Alert, there must be reasonable belief by law enforcement that a child, 17-years-old or younger has been abducted. The law enforcement agency must also believe the child is imminent danger or serious bodily injury or death, and have sufficient descriptive information about the victim, the abductor, and the abduction itself. The child's name and other critical data elements, including the Child Abduction flag, must have also been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.

You can sign up to receive AMBER Alerts in Washington state by going to www.amberalert.com. Those who sign up will also receive EMPAs and Blue Alerts.

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