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Aug-11-2011 16:35TweetFollow @OregonNews
The Amber Alert has Become a Government Money ToolPolitical Perspective by Tim King Salem-News.com
I suggest we reinvent this idea.
(SALEM, Ore.) - I've known for some time that I needed to express my accumulation of not-so-positive thoughts on the Amber Alert system and the horrific joke is has become in our society.
By this point many people already know about the three-year old Missouri girl, Breeann Rodriguez, who disappeared Saturday while riding her bicycle near her family's home. As if that isn't shocking enough, this little Hispanic girl was not the subject of an Amber Alert, it leaves many people scratching their heads.
One after another, almost every single time with few exceptions, these alerts are issued only when one or more of the parties are tied to public welfare support. In other words, the system isn't about reclaiming kids, it is about being sure deadbeat parents are arrested because the respective state governments have money on the line.
And before we go another step, it is very important to note that there are many so-called 'parent-child abduction' cases where the parent the police seek is saving the child from an abusive spouse that a court order demanded have custody. That is a sad fact that I have personally witnessed right here in Oregon in a case involving a family member.
There is little good sense in our courtrooms that depend on testimony from Child Protection workers so frequently accused of being overzealous in their pursuits which when effective, literally dissolve American families over an innuendo or over something like marijuana use. When the police or other investigators involved run out of evidence, they seize kids over people having a "dirty house" which is a debatable notion. The bottom line is that states use via Amber Alert to find kids when have money on the line.
I remember so many times when people were missing and police in different places where I have lived and worked on the west coast refused to communicate the situation to media, thus denying the most effective possible means of rescuing and saving abducted kids by simply getting their description out. Indeed, Amber Alerts are only issued when a known car and license plate number are involved. So, the slightly more thought out child abductions; where a suspect is not outwardly observed loading the kid into a car, are off the radar.
And another thing that riles me about this as a news editor who potentially can publish items to help locate missing kids, is how police and the Amber Alert people put minimal effort out with regard to images. It isn't unusual for Amber Alert to send out an image that is barely 100 dpi in width, tiny grainy images that are hard to see at all. Or, they send no image at all and then someone like me has to track down the photos through the police agency, which is fine, I don't mind, but other journalists will drop the ball, they need to be spoon fed, and that is the job of the police and Amber Alert.
I suggest we reinvent this idea.
Regarding Breeann Rodriguez, authorities say they have now located two pieces of physical evidence and they told CNN that "the evidence is a bad sign for the investigation".
An Amber Alert should have been issued within twenty minutes of this taking place. Cops have MDT's (mobile data terminals) and they can haul ass to abduction scenes and protocol should be for the officer(s) to get more than one image of the child from the family, and take them to their car laptops and scan them and immediately send them out, particularly to TV and Internet media, and do everything humanly possible as quickly as possible, using the media, to locate and recover these poor children. Those abducted by parents (even parents with terrible criminal records) almost ALWAYS are recovered without injury, the parents should not be the top priority.
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