Immigration and Customs Enforcement becomes first Federal Agency to enroll all of its investigators’ Sprint wireless phones for Wireless AMBER Alerts
Travis Sowders, 202-585-1948
Reston, Va. — 01/13/2006
Today is AMBER Alert Awareness Day, and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) is marking the occasion with a strong appeal to customers to sign up for Wireless AMBER Alerts(TM) Issued in child abduction cases, an AMBER Alert is an urgent bulletin designed to mobilize the entire community immediately to assist in the search and safe return of an abducted child.
Wireless AMBER Alerts distribute this vital, timely information to wireless subscribers using SMS text messaging technology. Wireless AMBER Alerts are free and available on an opt-in basis to customers of most major wireless companies. It’s easy to subscribe to them by visiting www.wirelessamberalerts.org.
In July 2004, Sprint Nextel became the first wireless company to develop a wireless text message-based alert, working with state AMBER Alert coordinators and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC), creating a system that is timely, unaltered and geographically-targeted. In May 2005, Sprint Nextel joined the entire wireless industry to launch a nationwide Wireless AMBER Alert initiative.
"Sprint Nextel has a strong commitment to public safety, including a long-term partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, as well as with John Walsh from America’s Most Wanted. We’re proud of our leadership role in Wireless AMBER Alerts. We strongly encourage all customers – government, businesses and consumers alike - to participate in this vital and free initiative," said Leon Frazier, vice president, Public Sector, Sprint Business Solutions.
Likewise, Sprint customers are making Wireless AMBER Alerts a key part of their wireless service arrangements. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, has become the first Federal agency to sign up all of its criminal investigators’ Sprint wireless phones for Wireless AMBER Alerts.
"With nearly 6,000 criminal investigators working in communities across the country each day, ICE is in a unique position to serve as a force multiplier when a child goes missing," said Marcy Forman, director of Investigations for ICE. "Through ICE initiatives such as Operation Predator, which has resulted in the arrest of more than 6,500 child predators since July 2003, ICE has demonstrated our commitment to children. I am proud that we are able to bolster this commitment by ensuring that ICE investigators are notified as soon as a child goes missing, and lend our eyes and ears to the search."
History of the AMBER Alert initiative
AMBER stands for "America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response," and was first announced in 1997 when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed with local law enforcement officials to develop an early-warning system to find abducted children. AMBER Alerts are so named to honor Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and then murdered. Today’s AMBER Alert Awareness Day marks the tenth anniversary of Amber’s abduction and murder.
Today all 50 states have established AMBER Alert programs, and the PROTECT Act of 2003 officially established a National AMBER Alert Coordinator role within the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) responsible for coordinating AMBER Alerts on the national level. DOJ has authorized NCMEC to be the secondary distributors of AMBER Alerts.
According to NCMEC, more than 241 children have been recovered since the AMBER Alert program began in 1996. More than 85 percent of the total numbers of successful recoveries to date have occurred since October 2002, when DOJ began to coordinate a national AMBER Alert effort. For more information, visit the DOJ’s www.amberalert.gov Web site and NCMEC’s Web site: www.missingkids.com.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of communications services bringing mobility to consumer, business and government customers. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks offering industry leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and an award-winning and global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.