TOPEKA – (January 13, 2021) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and KBI Director Kirk Thompson remind Kansans to stay alert when the public’s assistance is needed to help locate missing children. The reminder comes as National Amber Alert Awareness Day is observed today.
“When a child is abducted, getting detailed information about the incident out to the public as quickly as possible can be critical,” Schmidt said. “The first hours after an abduction are crucial, and the watchful eyes of Kansas citizens can help save a child’s life.”
Since its inception in 1996, this national program has successfully brought 1,029 children home safely. In Kansas, 56 children have been safely returned since 2002.
“The KBI is grateful for the collaboration of our many public and private sector partners who assist in deploying Amber Alert information at the critical time of a child abduction,” Thompson said. “In the past, citizen tips have been very valuable in locating kids and suspects, and we know that when communities and law enforcement work together we have the best chance at safely returning children.”
The Kansas Amber Alert system is coordinated by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and the KBI. When an alert is issued, the media are notified to begin broadcasting the details of the missing child and suspect.
The Amber Alert program, named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, and transportation agencies to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. The goal of an Amber Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child. Broadcasters use the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to air a description of the abducted child and suspected abductor. Wireless Emergency Alerts, or (WEAs), are also used to quickly notify citizens in a targeted geographic area through their mobile devices.
In addition to the Amber Alert program, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children maintains a list of all missing children from Kansas. That database can be accessed at www.missingkids.com. In October 2019, the KBI launched a website featuring a current and comprehensive listing of all missing persons in Kansas in a searchable format. That website is available at www.kbi.ks.gov/MissingPersons. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of any of these missing persons should contact their local law enforcement agency or call 1-800-KS-CRIME.
More information can be found on the attorney general’s website at www.ag.ks.gov/amber-alert and at www.ksamber.org. During an Amber Alert, updates are posted on Twitter at @ksamberalert.