in Connecticut and Tennessee announced plans this week to join
the growing list of states using electronic highway signs to flash
emergency alerts to drivers when a stranger abducts a child in
the success of a similar approach in California last week, both
states committed to the project. The use of highway signs has
been credited with saving two abducted teens north of Los Angeles.
Drivers who saw the warnings recognized the kidnapper's vehicle
and notified police, who rescued the girls from a remote desert
area as their abductor reportedly prepared to kill them.
states also have adopted the program, named for a 9-year-old Texas
girl who was abducted and murdered in 1996, and 25 cities and
four regions nationwide have created their own versions. Under
the program, emergency bulletins are immediately dispatched statewide
when police confirm a child under 16 has been abducted by a stranger.
created its Amber Alert system in January but has not yet needed
it. This week, the Connecticut State Police asked the state transportation
department to put the state's "Amber Alert" network
on about 110 highway signs.
warnings would run on television and radio stations statewide,
the Connecticut program previously did not include use of the
flashing highway signs.
the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, county sheriffs and the
Tennessee highway patrol have committed to making the project
a reality. ITS signs are scheduled to start working in Tennessee
in the fall. The plan is for the signs to go up in Nashville on
Oct. 1, Knoxville next year, and Chattanooga and Memphis in two