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Ref: AMBER Alert pilot programs highlight federal and tribal partnership

PR Newswire

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Department of Justice to Help Tribal Communities Develop and Implement Amber Alert Plans




Ten Tribal Sites Selected to Help Expand AMBER Alert into Indian
Country

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of
Justice today announced that ten Tribal sites have been selected to serve
as pilot communities as part of the Department's AMBER Alert in Indian
Country Initiative. The ten Tribal sites will serve as demonstration sites
for other Native American communities to help expand the AMBER Alert
program into Indian County and bridge the gap between Tribal communities
and state and regional programs across the country.

"Tribes can play an important role in strengthening our AMBER Alert
network," said Regina B. Schofield, National AMBER Alert Coordinator and
Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. "The ten
pilot sites will serve as models for other Tribal communities working to
develop AMBER Alert plans so that children in Indian country can benefit
from the AMBER Alert network."

The Tribal communities selected to participate in the initiative are
the Acoma, Hopi, Laguna and Zuni Pueblo communities; the Choctaw Nation;
the Crow Nation; the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; the Gila River
Indian Community; the Navajo Nation; the Northern Arapaho Tribe; the Salt
River Pima Maricopa Indian Community; the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska; and
the Yakama Nation.

The AMBER Alert in Indian Country Initiative grew out of talks last
year between Tribal leaders and the Justice Department about expanding the
AMBER Alert program into Indian Country. The initiative aims to assist
Tribal communities in the development and implementation of AMBER Alert
plans, and support the recovery of missing and abducted children by
providing interoperability, infrastructure, and equipment resources to meet
the specific needs of Tribal communities.

AMBER (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alerts are
emergency messages broadcast when a law enforcement agency determines that
a child has been abducted and is in imminent danger. The broadcasts include
information about the child and the abductor, including physical
descriptions as well as information about the abductor's vehicle, which
could lead to the child's recovery. AMBER Alerts are also available to
wireless users who can opt to receive geographically-specified messages on
their wireless devices or cell phones through an AMBER Alert wireless
messaging system.

The PROTECT Act established the national AMBER Alert Coordinator role.
Assistant Attorney General Schofield was appointed to serve as the
national AMBER Alert Coordinator and a national strategy to create a
seamless national network of alert systems has followed. More than 90
percent of the 360 recoveries of abducted children have occurred since
AMBER Alert became a nationally coordinated effort. All 50 states have
statewide AMBER Alert plans in place so that all levels of state law
enforcement know when a child is abducted.

The AMBER Alert program began in Texas in 1996 when Dallas-Fort Worth
broadcasters teamed up with local police to develop an early warning system
to help find abducted children, in memory of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman
of Arlington, Texas, who was abducted while riding her bicycle and later
found murdered.

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney
General Regina B. Schofield, provides federal leadership in developing the
nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and
assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice
Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of
Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the
Office for Victims of Crime. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the
Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed
strategy, and the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending,
Registering and Tracking (SMART) Office. More information can be found at
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

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