Amber Alert ready to go in Oregon

| Thursday, October 17, 2002

With the hope it will never be used, an emergency notification system designed to inform truckers and others of a child kidnapping went live Tuesday in an Oregon county. Oregon will activate a statewide system by mid-November.

Washington County's Amber Alert system is the first to be active in the state. The alert system relies on police notifying television and radio stations within hours of an abduction where a child may be immediately harmed.

Authorities say the system's success is dependent on the public being informed immediately of an abduction through the media and state transportation reader boards, and word being passed along to truckers, utility workers and other groups.

Reader boards along highways will flash a message to tune into the local TV or radio to hear about the abduction. Once tuned in, the public will receive information on the victim, the suspect and what vehicle the kidnapper is driving. An 800 number to call in tips also will be available.

Earlier this month, a 14-year-old girl reported abducted was found near Pleasanton, TX, after a call from a truckdriver helped authorities track the kidnapper's vehicle. The trucker had seen an Amber Alert on the kidnapping along a San Antonio interstate.

The Amber Alert is named for Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and murdered in Arlington, TX, in 1996. The system is in 53 cities, regions and states.

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