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REVAMPED NOTIFICATION SYSTEM FOR ABDUCTED & MISSING CHILDREN WILL SPEED NOTIFICATION ALERTS

January 09, 2009 (LITTLE ROCK) – The Arkansas State Police in cooperation with the state’s official web portal provider, Arkansas.Gov (Information Network of Arkansas, INA), has launched a revamped Morgan Nick Amber Alert activation system. The alert system is a collaborative operation between the State Police and local law enforcement working in conjunction with local radio and television stations. The Morgan Nick Amber Alert System was among the first in the country to use the Emergency Alert System which allows the State Police to interrupt local radio and television programming to provide information to the public about abducted children facing imminent threat of harm or danger. One element of the alert system is the distribution of eMails to newspapers and other news organizations across the state as well as the general public alerting these subscribers to the information about missing or abducted children. “Technology advancements over the last couple of years have allowed us to combine the alert activation processes into a single distribution point,” said Major Cleve Barfield, commander of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division which administers the alert system. “What once required three or four people at all hours of the day and night becoming involved to issue an alert has been consolidated now into a single point of contact.” Using an Internet web based application designed by INA, the State Police can execute multiple functions using a single person at one location. An operator can script an EAS alert, distribute photographs of the missing child or suspect, populate a web site, and distribute hundreds of eMail alert notifications all in under 10 minutes. Another new function offers the public the choice to register their eMail addresses at the state’s Morgan Nick Amber Alert web site (https://www.ark.org/asp/alerts/mnaa/index.php). When an active alert or alert update is issued by the State Police registered eMail recipients will immediately receive a message giving information about the missing child, a description of the child, suspect information and photographs of the child and/or suspect. The Morgan Nick Amber Alert web page features the story of Morgan Nick, a 6 year-old girl abducted June 9th, 1995 while she played at an Alma, Arkansas baseball field. It was the story of Morgan’s disappearance and the lessons learned through the course of her case which eight years ago was the catalyst bringing broadcasters and Arkansas law enforcement agencies together to create the alert system. The web site also allows the public to review the status of active alerts involving missing or abducted Arkansas children. There is a link to the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children along with a link to the Arkansas State Police operating procedure involving Amber Alert cases. “We are asking as many Arkansans as possible to register for the eMail alerts,” said Colonel Winford Phillips, Director of the Arkansas State Police. “With the continued growth of wireless communication networks we believe it is vital to share with the public, particularly those people who carry mobile devices, the first information about missing or abducted children. These people see and hear things in so many places and their reports back to us when a child goes missing are always invaluable.” Private businesses that may have electronic messaging systems inside their service fleets or carried by their personnel are especially encouraged to register at the web site. “We are living in a very mobile society and it only makes sense to, as quickly as possible, reach out to the public, give them the first facts as we know them about the case and ask for their help,” said Major Barfield. “We know from experience that the first hour after a child is reported missing or abducted is the most critical if we’re going to successfully find the trail of a suspect or an area where the child may be located.”