Illinois soon will begin using the technology that alerts the public to major storms and emergencies to get out faster word of Amber Alerts on child abductions, Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Thursday. Through a partnership with the Illinois Broadcasters Association and the National Weather Service, media outlets will receive Amber Alerts from the Emergency Alert System–the one that interrupts radio and TV broadcasts with bulletins about severe weather, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Notifying the public quickly about a missing child “is more than just crucial. It is the difference between saving the child and losing the child,” Blagojevich said at a news conference in Chicago. The new system is scheduled to be in place by May 15. “A fax just simply hasn’t been getting the job done,” said Larry Trent, director of the Illinois State Police. “The emphasis can’t be placed enough on speed.”
Blagojevich cautioned against overusing the system, which was used in finding Utah teen Elizabeth Smart.