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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen To Kick Off Contest January 16, 2008 At Elm Creative Arts School In Milwaukee
MADISON - Wisconsin schools will participate in a national poster contest being launched in order to commemorate the twelfth anniversary of the National Amber Alert System, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today. Participating children will create posters that highlight efforts to reunite missing children with their families, and the winner will receive an award at a ceremony in May commemorating Wisconsin's Missing Children's Awareness Day.
"Wisconsin's Amber Alert program is a model partnership of government agencies, private enterprise, and civic-minded citizens," Van Hollen said. "Since the inception of Wisconsin's Amber Alert program in 2003, Wisconsin has had 14 successful Amber Alert activations, resulting in the safe recovery of 20 children."
To kick off the poster contest, Van Hollen will speak tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Elm Creative Arts School, 900 West Walnut Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Representatives of Mayor Barrett's office, the Milwaukee Police Department, and the Milwaukee Public Schools will also be speaking.
The Wisconsin Amber Alert Plan is an effort to enhance law enforcement's ability to respond effectively and efficiently when a child has been abducted in the hope of safely recovering abducted children preventing the victimization of children in Wisconsin. When an Amber Alert is activated, radio and television stations interrupt programming with an emergency tone similar to the one used to warn about severe weather conditions utilizing the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and information about the abduction is transmitted. Certain highway message board signs, too, will transmit messages about a confirmed abduction. Through public notification, the number of eyes and ears on the lookout for the abducted child are increased, increasing the chances of a safe recovery. According to national statistics, 74% of children who are abducted and killed are dead within three hours of being abducted. Therefore, the public's role can be critical to the success of an Amber Alert activation. Persons who locate an abductor should never take any action other than to contact law enforcement.
To activate an Amber Alert, law enforcement applies the following criteria:
The child must be 17 years of age or younger; The child must be in danger of serious bodily harm or death. The initiating agency must have enough descriptive information about the child, the suspect and/or the suspect's vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help locate the child.
Wisconsin's Amber Alert Plan is a voluntary effort led by the Department of Justice in association with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Dane County 911, the Department of Transportation, local law enforcement agencies, the Wisconsin Lottery, the Outdoor Advertising Association and other participating agencies.
The Amber Alert system is named in memory of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was abducted while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, in 1996. Her body was located four days after she was reported missing. She had been brutally murdered. These events inspired Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters to team with local law enforcement, creating a warning system to aid in the search for abducted children.
The Wisconsin Amber Alert program is coordinated by the Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Missing Children and Adults, which is housed in the Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation.
Visit amberalertwisconsin.org for more information on the Wisconsin Amber Alert system.