TOPEKA – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and KBI Director Kirk Thompson today reminded Kansans to stay alert when the public’s assistance is needed to help locate missing children. The reminder comes as National Amber Alert Awareness Day was observed on Friday, Jan. 13.

“Kansans should always be mindful when an alert is issued,” Schmidt said. “When a child goes missing, getting detailed information about the incident out to the public as quickly as possible can be critical. The chances of finding an abducted child increase dramatically when more people in the search area are on the lookout – especially in the first few hours. The watchful eyes of Kansas citizens can help save a child’s life.”

Since its inception in 1996, this national program has successfully brought 857 children home safely. In Kansas, 40 children have been safely returned since 2002. During 2016, eight Amber Alerts were issued in Kansas, each resulting in the safe recovery of the abducted children.

“The KBI appreciates the collaboration of our various public and private sector partners who assist in deploying Amber Alert information at the critical time of a child abduction. We are also grateful for the public’s attention and vigilance in helping to protect the most vulnerable among us - our children.” Thompson said.

The Kansas Amber Alert system is coordinated by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and the KBI. When an alert is issued, the media are notified to begin broadcasting the details of the missing child and suspect. Last month, Schmidt asked Director Thompson to conduct a complete review of the program and report on steps that will be taken to ensure the reliability of future Amber Alerts.

The Amber Alert program, named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, and transportation agencies to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. Broadcasters use the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to air a description of the abducted child and suspected abductor. The goal of an Amber Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child.

In addition to the Amber Alert program, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children maintains a list of all missing children from Kansas. That database can be accessed at www.missingkids.com. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of any of these missing persons should contact a law enforcement agency or call 1-800-KS-CRIME.

More information can be found on the attorney general’s website at www.ag.ks.gov/amber-alert and at www.ksamber.org , or on Twitter @ksamberalert.