State officials and broadcasters today unveiled details of the now-active “Amber Alert” system which will enlist the public’s help in tracking down abducted children. Iowa Department of Public Safety director Kevin Techau says messages will be broadcast by the state’s 275 radio and television stations. Techau says the Amber Plan makes it possible for every Iowan to play a key role in helping law enforcement locate and rescue kidnapped kids. Officials say the Amber Alert will only go out when specific criteria have been met. The child must be under the age of 18, there’s an indication the kid will be seriously harmed or killed, and there’s enough descriptive information about the child, the abductor and a vehicle.In addition to broadcasting the alert on radio and t.v. stations, the Iowa Lottery will send the alert out to its 22-hundred retail outlets, and you’ll see the information printed on Lottery tickets and scrolling across in the message board on the lottery terminal. Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer says lottery terminals will ring when the Amber Alert goes out.Sue Toma of the Iowa Broadcasters Association says Iowa’s radio and t-v stations volunteered to be part of the effort. Toma says they have the unique ability to get the word out quickly. She says surveys show 95-percent of people listen to the radio in their cars.Lieutenant Todd Misel of the Iowa State Highway Patrol says they expect to have one to three Amber Alerts in Iowa every year.Broadcasters will receive Amber Alerts via their Emergency Alert System boxes which carry other emergency information. Toma says broadcasters spent between one hundred and two-hundred-15 dollars to upgrade their E-A-S boxes to receive the Amber Alerts.
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