Lithuania Launches AMBER Alert System
The Lithuanian National Police officially joined AMBER Alert Europe and will now issue alerts in child abduction cases. On October 10, 2019, Lithuania joined 21 countries with 33 organizations using the tools and methods of the AMBER Alert program. “(This) enables us to spread information about these cases all over Europe, while learning about the latest technologies in the search for missing persons. All of the above, will highly contribute to finding missing children,” said Irena Ambrasaite, Chief Specialist at the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau.
European Union Recognizes Missing Persons Network
All members of the European Union (EU) are officially recognizing the Police Expert Network on Missing Persons as the first and only law enforcement network for AMBER Alerts. At a meeting on October 18, 2019, a body of the Council of the EU identified the group as the single point of contact for missing person specialists for 21 EU countries. “Through the network, police officers across Europe know exactly who they should (contact) in another country at 3 a.m.,” said Frank Hoen, AMBER Alert Europe Chairman.
South Africa and Facebook Unite For AMBER Alerts
The South African Police Service and Facebook are now collaborating to resolve child kidnappings and find missing children. Starting December 6, 2019, South Africa began using the social media channel to distribute AMBER Alerts. The alerts will be posted for 24 hours and will be disseminated to all Facebook users within a 160-kilometer radius of where the child was last seen.
Canada Reluctant to Start National Silver Alert Program
Some Canadian jurisdictions are not interested in creating a national Silver Alert program for persons with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada (ASC) also opposes the idea. “We aren’t endorsing them because there isn’t robust evidence that they actually work,” said Mary Schulz, ASC Director of Education. Silver Alert advocates say the system could be a lifesaver for missing seniors.
Bill VanGorder, spokesperson for the Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP) Nova Scotia said the alerts reinforce stereotypes. “We certainly don’t like the idea of suggesting that if you’re silver-haired, as I am, then somehow I’m going to automatically be prone to wander.” In 2017, Alberta and Manitoba amended their Missing Persons Act to allow for Silver Alerts. However, Alberta has yet to issue a Silver Alert.