Amber Alerts are meant to provide a rapid response to the most serious child abduction cases. But they needed to meet certain criteria before an alert can be sent out.

Before Gov. Kay Ivey’s involvement, law enforcement officials had to confirm that a child had been abducted before issuing an Amber Alert.

This new change came in the wake of an incident in Bessemer where a suspect stole a car with a toddler inside. The change lines Alabama up with federal guidelines.

Because of the old guidelines, the child did not meet the criteria for an immediate Amber Alert. Two hours went by before one could be released.

Now, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Hal Taylor said an “abduction” requirement is no longer needed. This puts moms like Kay Shara’s at ease.

“If you have kids you understand,” she said.

Others like Caitie Watt said they understand all sides of the issue.

“I can see it both ways,” she said. “I can see if think a child is missing and they’re not actually missing, they’re just down the cul-de-sac playing, that that could be a problem. But at the same, they need to put themselves in the parents’ situation.”

Alabama State Trooper Reginal King issued a statement saying ALEA must act quickly any time a child goes missing to get information out fast.

ALEA determines what type of alert should be issued, if any, based on information provided by the local agency handling the case.

Categories: Local News