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How social media plays a pivotal role in helping spread AMBER Alerts

AMBER Alerts have contributed to the recovery of more than 1,100 children in the U.S., according to the Dept. of Justice.

YORK, Pa. — After a harrowing search on June 5 for missing child from York County, an AMBER Alert was issued by Pennsylvania State Police and within hours, the missing child was found.

Myles Snyder, communications director for the Pennsylvania State Police, says several major factors have to be weighed before issuing an AMBER Alert.

“Does it meet the criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert? Will getting this information out there quickly help us find the child? Is this information reliable? Is somebody making part of this up?" Synder explained.

"There are things that need to be investigated before the alert is issued.”

According to the Deptartment of Justice, AMBER Alerts have contributed to the recovery of more than 1,100 children in the U.S.

That success has led companies like Instagram and Facebook to aid in the process.

Instagram announced they will have a partnership with several organizations dedicated to finding and rescuing missing children. The alerts will include details of the missing child, including a photo and a description.

“Instagram is a platform based on the power of photos, making it a perfect fit for the AMBER Alert program,” said Michelle DeLaune, President and CEO at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. 

“We know that photos are a critical tool in the search for missing children and by expanding the reach to the Instagram audience, we’ll be able to share photos of missing children with so many more people.”

Utilizing social media, Pete Anders, who served with the Lancaster Police Department for 20 years, he says is a great thing.

"I think the use of social media to broadcast messages is a phenomenal asset in general for law enforcement and the community," Anders said.

"I think as far as AMBER Alerts – it’s difficult for me to see a negative because at that point, law enforcement is looking for anything to get that information out.”

A technological breakthrough, Synder notes, that will benefit the law enforcement agencies, the community & the families involved.

“The timing is absolutely critical," Synder said.

"So the faster information can get out there to people who can then spot either the child, the vehicle that may be involved, or the perpetrator, the faster police can find that child and ensure their safety.”

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