The state is implementing a new way residents receive Amber Alert notifications.
According to Delaware State Police, The Delaware Amber Alert Program will now use the Wireless Emergency Alert System to send notifications to all capable cell phones statewide.
Previously, cell phone notifications only went to residents who signed up for them on the Amber Alert website.
When an Amber Alert is issued, the WEA system will send out an audible alert tone and message similar to a text with information regarding the victim.
The free service will use nearby cell towers to send alerts based on location.
Amber alerts are also broadcast on local radio and television stations. The system was developed in 1996 after the abduction and murder of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman in Texas.
“Time is critical when it comes to finding abducted children,” said Sgt. Paul G. Shavack, Amber Alert coordinator for Delaware, in a statement. “When a child’s life is in danger, spreading the word quickly can often mean the difference between life and death. The public’s awareness and input acts as a powerful force multiplier for law enforcement and helps tremendously in contributing to the successful recovery of missing and abducted children.”
Nationally, there have been 602 children rescued and returned because of the Amber Alert program.
Delaware has issued eight Amber Alerts since implementing the system in 2003.