THUNDER BAY, ON --- October 10, 2010 ----- Canada is the first country in the world to launch an Amber Alert Facebook page, and Facebook Canada’s managing director Jordan Banks said he is “proud that Ontario has stepped up” to find abducted children under the age of 18.
Banks and Aftab were among the spoke at a news conference on Friday to launch the Facebook page after reaching a partnership agreement with the Ontario Provincial Police.
“It’s not in the U.S., it’s not in the U.K. It’s in Canada first,” said Dr. Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety.org , which is a key member of Facebook’s Security Advisory Board.
Canada is the first country in the world to launch an Amber Alert Facebook page, and Facebook Canada’s managing director Jordan Banks said he is “proud that Ontario has stepped up” to find abducted children under the age of 18.
By late Saturday afternoon almost 38,000 people have Like the Amber Alerts page. Including Lake Superior News.
The Ontario AMBER Alert is a warning system that quickly alerts the public of abducted children who are in imminent danger.
The participation of the public is essential to the success of AMBER Alert. The information you provide to police may help an abducted child before it is too late.
We can take action together to protect and safely recover abducted children.
In 1996, the brutal kidnapping and murder of 9 year old Amber Hagerman, caused her community of Arlington Texas to come together and create the AMBER (America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response) program with the intent of preventing such incidents from occurring in the future and to increase the safety of children in the community.
The Ontario AMBER Alert Program is a voluntary cooperative plan between the Ontario Association of Broadcasters, law enforcement agencies, and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. The program is used to alert the public in child abduction cases where police believe the child is in danger of bodily harm or death.
The Ontario Provincial Police facilitate the program within the province. The OPP provide media outlets with critical information concerning a confirmed child abduction which could assist in locating the child. The program is available to all police agencies in Ontario.
When an AMBER Alert is activated, the police now have thousands of eyes watching for the victim, suspect, or suspect’s vehicle.
How Does it Work?
AMBER Alert uses highway changeable message signs, radio, television and cable to immediately broadcast descriptions of kidnap victims, their abductors, and suspect vehicles.
Radio and television stations immediately interrupt their programming to disseminate information. This is done as a public service without commercial endorsement.
The O.P.P. follow an established protocol to activate the alert, notifying police communication centres, M.T.O., the media, and other participating partners in the area in which the child is most likely to be located.
An AMBER Alert is not intended for cases involving parental abductions or runaways except in life threatening situations. The duration of an alert will depend on the circumstances surrounding the abduction and will vary from one incident to the next. In most cases five hours would be the maximum.
The AMBER Alert is in place to quickly notify the public of the details of the abduction during the early stages of the investigation. Once this is accomplished, the Alert has served its purpose.
Benefits of the Ontario AMBER Alert
The early stage of the investigation is critical. Information obtained quickly through an AMBER Alert may assist in the safe and swift return of abducted children.
AMBER Alert sends a strong message that crimes against children are intolerable, and may act as a deterrent to potential kidnappers.
AMBER Alert empowers the community to work cooperatively with law enforcement and the media to increase the safety of our communities. The main objective is always the safe return of the child.
How Can the Community Assist?
1. When it is determined that an AMBER Alert is required, information about the suspect or missing child will be displayed on electronic highway signs, radio, television and cable TV stations.
2. If you see or hear an AMBER Alert, watch for the child, suspect, and/or vehicle described in the Alert.
3. Immediately report any sightings to the police by calling 9-1-1.
4. Provide information on the location, and a description of the victim, suspect, and/or any vehicle involved.
The Ontario AMBER Alert is an excellent example of law enforcement and the media working together with the community to protect the safety of our children.
Guidelines for an Ontario AMBER Alert
Before an alert is initiated, three guidelines must be met:
1. Law enforcement agency believes a child under the age of 18 has been abducted;
2. Law enforcement agency believes the child is in danger;
3. There is descriptive information about one or more of the following:
4. to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help in locating the child.
Toronto Police Service
York Regional Police
Child Safety Research and Innovation Centre
Ontario Ministry Correctional Services Community Safety
Ontario Ministry of Transportation
Ontario Association of Broadcasters
Child Find Ontario
Ontario Lottery and Gaming
Mac’s Convenience Stores
Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association