By Denise Gee Peacock
The AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program (AATTAP) joined regional partners from Virginia and New York to discuss AMBER Alert best practices with child protection/law enforcement delegations from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia on June 12, 2023, in Washington, DC.
During the meeting, held at the U.S. Department of State, the AATTAP team discussed the history and effectiveness of the nation's AMBER Alert plans. Those in attendance were Janell Rasmussen, Program Administrator; Jenniffer Price-Lehmann, Program Manager; and Yesenia “Jesi” Leon-Baron, Project Coordinator for International and Territorial Programs.
Additionally, Virginia State Police AMBER Alert Coordinators Sergeant Connie Brooks and Lieutenant Robbie Goodrich outlined how their state AMBER Alert activations are decided and disseminated. Also, New York State Police AMBER Alert Coordinator Erika Hock, New York State Missing Persons Clearinghouse (NYSMPC) Manager Cindy Neff and NYSMPC Investigative Supervisor Timothy Williams appeared virtually to discuss their state’s AMBER Alert system and training/technology requirements.
The U.S.-based AMBER Alert experts answered numerous questions from the delegations, which were especially interested in each state’s activation criteria, processes and protocols, and the technology used to alert the public in various formats/locations. Both states also shared their AMBER Alert plan’s documentation and related checklists, while the AATTAP provided numerous foundational resources.
Representing the Republic of Serbia were members of its Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) Affairs; Ministry of the Interior; and the Center for Missing and Abused Children from the Republic of Serbia, a non-governmental organization.
The Bosnia-Herzegovina delegation included representatives from the Ministries of the Interior in several districts; the Ministry of Security; the IFS Emmaus Center for Safe Internet; and the country’s INL program officer.
The goal is to help each country successfully create its own AMBER Alert plan—and we look forward to seeing that happen. We’re honored to help them do everything possible to strategically prevent, and find, missing children.