Highway Patrol unveils new streamlined AMBER Alert system
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Highway Patrol announced a streamlined the AMBER Alert system this week.
The new version of the app sends information directly to FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). Before the change, Highway Patrol sent information to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for dispersion.
Captain John Hotz with Missouri State Highway Patrol says the goal of the change is to get information out quicker.
"This will also substantially save time, as far as when we actually get the information until when the AMBER Alert is actually initialized," Hotz said. "We know that during times of an AMBER Alert time is of the essence and the quicker we can get that information out, that usable information, that can help people identify or locate these, the missing children, suspect or vehicle, the better our chances are of recovering that child."
Hotz also said that this change was something that had been in the works for months.
"Parts of the program they've been working on for a couple years, and then the application part has been worked on for probably the past six or seven months," Hotz said.
Under the new system, information is updated constantly through the website, MOAlerts. Before, information may have been spread that didn't match new updates that had come out.
"One of the things that we saw in the past was, particularly on social media, if you had initial information but then maybe you had an update for a subject or a different type of vehicle, when you put that information out there people were sharing two or three different versions of the same alert," Hotz said.
Through the MOAlerts website, you can also sign up to receive AMBER Alerts.