Iowans can now get information on their cell phones about AMBER Alerts issued in the state. Jim Saunders, with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, says they’ll send out a text message with information about a child that’s reported missing. Iowans can sign up by visiting www.WirelessAmberAlerts.org . "They can find out if their particular cell phone carrier participates in the program," Saunders explains, "and then simply enter in their zip code into the system and once an AMBER Alert is issued in Iowa, they’ll get a message with that information."
The text messages will enhance the current system, which sends the AMBER Alert to the media and to electronic signs on Iowa interstates. Saunders says not everyone is driving in their car, listening to the radio, or watching TV, "but chances are their cell phone is on and that just gives us that much more potential to recover the child." The Iowa Utilities Board is partnering with the Department of Public Safety to promote the availability of wireless AMBER Alerts in Iowa.
Since Iowa’s AMBER Alert Program was started in 2003, it’s been activated 11 times. In each case, the child was found. AMBER stands for "America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response" and was developed by local broadcasters and police in Dallas-Ft Worth, Texas in 1997. More information about Iowa’s AMBER Alert Program is available at www.IowaAmberAlert.org .