Alabama launches Missing and Endangered Person Alert
Alabama will now issue a Missing and Endangered Person Alert for individuals 18 and older with a mental or physical disability and at risk of bodily harm or death. The alert expands what was once called the Missing Senior Alert to help handle more cases that do not meet AMBER Alert criteria.
Florida has new law to protect children from abuse in foster care
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill on June 18, 2020, to create Jordan’s Law, which provides additional resources and training for social workers and others in the state’s child welfare system. The law is named after Jordan Belliveau, the two-year-old’s body was found after his mother allegedly struck him in the head and abandoned him in the woods.
Houston billboards will now show missing children
The Texas Center for the Missing has teamed up with Clear Channel Outdoor Americas to utilize digital billboards for providing information on missing children. The effort was started to help Robyn Bennett find her missing 16-year-old daughter. The messages will be broadcast about 1,250 times every day on each of the 10 billboards throughout the Houston area. “These cases can all be solved if we all work together and look for these missing children actively and report what you see if you see something,” said Beth Alberts, CEO of the Texas Center for the Missing.
Missouri now issues statewide notifications for Blue Alerts
Missouri’s notification system used for AMBER Alerts will now also be used for Blue Alerts, an alert that notifies the public when a law enforcement member is killed or seriously injured. The Blue Alerts will include photos and descriptions of the suspects and vehicles and will be sent to people who signed up for Mo-Alerts at www.moalerts.mo.gov.
Tennessee considers “Evelyn’s Law” to require reporting of missing children
Lawmakers in Tennessee are working on a bill that would make it a crime for failing to report a missing child within 48 hours. “Evelyn’s Law” is named after Evelyn Boswell, a baby found deceased two months after she was last seen. The child’s mother has been charged with lying to police about who had the baby.
Ohio police worry AMBER Alert searches will be hampered by new license plate law
Ohio law enforcement officials are concerned that searches during AMBER Alerts will be hampered after a state law was changed so front license plates are no longer required. They say it will be more difficult for officers and license plate readers to identify a suspect’s vehicle. Ohio legislators changed the law after a study found it would save the state $1.4 million annually needed to produce front license plates.
Tennessee lawmakers consider adding surveillance cameras to interstates
A Tennessee bill would place police surveillance cameras on the state’s busiest roadways. The current state law forbids unmanned traffic enforcement surveillance cameras, but Representative Mark White wants the cameras to be used to track suspected criminals, including AMBER Alert suspects. Critics are raising privacy concerns about the proposed law.
Air Force Academy hope license plate readers will help in AMBER Alerts
The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, now has license plate readers that can help law enforcement identify vehicles if a car is stolen or an AMBER Alert is issued. “They’re just another terrific tool for keeping our community safe,” said Capt. Moses Lee, 10th Security Forces Squadron operations officer.
Mothers push for law requiring an alert for missing soldiers
The mothers of two deceased Fort Hood soldiers want federal lawmakers to create “Dakota’s Law,” that would set up an AMBER Alert-style system to find missing soldiers. The law is being championed by the mother of a soldier who was found deceased by his car three weeks after he went missing in 2017, and the mother of a soldier who was found buried 10 months after he was reported missing in 2019. The law would also require law enforcement to begin an immediate search.