Everyone is likely familiar with the AMBER Alert System. Developed in 1996 by a team of broadcasters and police from Dallas-Fort Worth, the system was created following the disappearance and murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman. Although the young girl inspired the creation of the AMBER Alert, it is not named after her; the name is an acronym for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. Since the implementation in Dallas-Forth Worth, the system has spread throughout the United States, inspiring other cities and states to create their own systems.
In the nearly 20 years that have passed since the original AMBER Alert System was put into place, approximately 800 children have been returned to their families directly due to AMBER Alert. Developments in technology are constantly being used to make sure these notifications reach as wide an audience as possible. Since 2012, AMBER Alerts have been issued as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), text-like alerts that are automatically delivered to any WEA-capable devices in the area where the AMBER Alert has been issued.
With the widespread reach of AMBER Alerts, there is also a downside; some fear that people are taking less notice of the notifications than they used to. Since the implementation of the WEA, for instance, cell phone users have complained that the alerts are too frequent, don't include enough specific details, or are from regions far from their location. "There's a very delicate balance between how much is enough and how much (alerting) is too much," said Damon Penn, the Assistant Administrator of the Response Directorate at FEMA (who also uses the WEA system). "The big concern is over-alerting, and that's what we're focused on." All agencies that utilize the WEA are continually refining their use of the system to avoid causing the public to tune the messages out. Luckily for Brooklynne Enix, at least, Steve Adams was still listening.
H/T: ABC News