February 11, 2005

Amber Alert Passes Senate

Crapo says voluntary measure will speed child abduction investigations

Washington, DC - Missing children and their families may be reunited more quickly if the U.S. House, as expected, follows the lead of the Senate and approves a bill to expand the AMBER (Americaâ??s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert system. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, who co-sponsored the measure which was passed by the Senate last night, says several Idaho-based alert systems may be interested in matching federal grants for the voluntary programs aimed at alerting the public when children in their area are missing.Crapo said the 92-0 Senate vote likely means federal funding will soon become available to local organizations that are interested in participating in voluntary programs to expand efforts to find missing children through AMBER Alert. Similar measures passed in both the House and Senate last year, but the session ended before the differences between the measures could be worked out.â??Often, programs like AMBER Alert can play a major role when the search in on for a missing child,â?? said Crapo. â??It is another avenue that brings more resources to our local law enforcement, and it has made a tremendous difference in more than two dozen missing children cases in the country. We can all do our part, and that may be as simple as noticing vehicle and physical descriptions. For example, that is why I have begun featuring photographs of missing children on my Senate web site and my outgoing mail envelopes.â??Crapo said he hopes that the funding issues limiting the use of a statewide AMBER Alert system for Idaho can be addressed through keeping the federal funding on a voluntary basis. The measure contains at least $25 million in matching grants targeted at training and transportation signage programs, as well as efforts to promote coordination between states. President Bush had already pledged $10 million for training and equipment upgrades to assist states, but the legislation supported by Crapo and others could produce a more coordinated national effort and response to AMBER Alerts issued for missing children in any state. # # #