AMBER Alert Briefs – Spring 2018
Short News Clips on AMBER Alert & Child Protection Issues
Justice Organization Honors Florida AMBER Alert Advocate Donna Uzzell with its Highest Award
SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, will honor Donna Uzzell for its highest practitioner award for 2018. The Special Agent in Charge for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been actively involved with promoting AMBER Alert, human trafficking and child safety training, and protecting vulnerable populations like the elderly and disabled. “It is enormously gratifying that the 2018 Hawkins Award will recognize and honor Donna’s fearless leadership, passionate devotion to duty and relentless pursuit of programs and policies that have measurably improved our justice and public safety systems nationwide,” said SEARCH Chair Bradley D. Truitt, Director of Information Systems, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Ms. Uzzell has worked with the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program for more than a decade, and continues to contribute as an Associate with the National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College. She will be presented with the award on July 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
Iowa’s Champion for the AMBER Alert Retires
Iowa State Trooper and longtime advocate for the AMBER Alert Todd Misel has retired after a 34-year career in law enforcement. Misel was part of a group that created Iowa’s AMBER Alert program in 2003. Iowa’s governor told the group he wanted the alert up and running soon. “He brought it up at the state fair and gave us 90 days to put it together and figure it out,” said Misel. “It was an extremely aggressive time line but we had something by early spring of the (following) year.” Misel has also worked with the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Program for more than a decade.
Congressman Proposes “Ashanti Alert Act” to Find Abducted Adults
Congressmen from Virginia, Texas, Maryland and Rhode Island have introduced a bill that would create a system to notify the public when an adult is abducted and believed to be in danger. The “Ashanti Alert Act” is named after Ashanti Billi. The 19-year-old woman was found murdered eleven days after she was reported missing and 300 miles from where she was last seen alive. The alerts would be for missing people between the ages of 18 and 65 and would utilize TV, radio and social media to send messages to the public. Virginia lawmakers have passed a bill that allows law enforcement officers in that state issue an Ashanti Alert.
Wisconsin Considers “Green Alert” for Missing Veterans
Wisconsin legislators have passed the “Green Alert” bill that would be used to find missing and vulnerable veterans. Senator LaTonya Johnson said it would be similar to the state’s AMBER Alert and Silver Alert. The bill was inspired by a Wisconsin reserve sergeant who went missing last year during the spring.
Nursing Students Lobby for Silver Alert in Alabama
One hundred nursing students from the University of Alabama in Huntsville lobbied legislators to create a Silver Alert for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The bill would also create more training for law enforcement officers when they search for people with a diminished mental capacity. “It’s an opportunity to help people and that’s what nurses do,” said student Dawn Brown.
Nebraska Seeks Expansion of Silver Alerts to Include Children with Disabilities
Some Nebraska legislators would like Silver Alerts to be issued for missing children with disabilities. The alerts are voluntarily shared on TV and radio for disabled adults who wander from their home without assistance. Iowa Representative Sharon Negele said Silver Alerts have helped recover 88 percent of missing persons between 2013 and 2017. She said the same protection should be provided for children.
Missouri Mayor Donates Money for Police License Plate Readers
The mayor of Godfrey Township, Missouri, heard about nearby Alton Police Department’s request to buy four license plate recognition cameras and handed over a $13,400 check to help pay for them. “As one community goes, the other community goes,” said Mayor Mike McCormik. “We need success in Alton just like Alton needs successful things in Godfrey.” The cameras will be placed on a bridge and will be used to capture any vehicle tagged for an AMBER Alert or vehicles suspected in connection with other crimes. The information is shared with 14 police and sheriff’s departments in Illinois and Missouri.