Amber Alerts allow police to utilize new technology to track dow - WNEM TV 5

Amber Alerts allow police to utilize new technology to track down missing kids

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GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

On Monday, people across Michigan received an alert on their phones.

"At first I thought my phone was ringing..." said Jordan Verhegghe.

It was an Amber Alert.

"I got two today and one yesterday," Verhegghe said.

Michigan State Police issued the Amber Alert to help authorities find 3-year-old, Keegan Waterman, from Alpena Township.

"You won't get the Amber Alert over your phone unless it has a description of the vehicle and a license plate number," said Lt. David Kaiser.

Kaiser said MSP started sending the warning to phone in 2013, taking full advantage of advancements in technology.

"We can reach millions of people," Kaiser said.

Amber Alerts are issued when a child under the age of 17 goes missing, has mental or physical disabilities or is taken by a parent whose parental rights have been terminated.

A cell phone equipped with the Wireless Emergency Alert is already enrolled in the program. Users will automatically receive Amber and two other kinds of alerts.

"The other alerts are for an emergency weather situation. The third is a presidential alert. That would be for a natural disaster," Kaiser said.

Verhegghe said he doesn't mind receiving the messages, the more people looking for Keegan and the tan Tahoe police believe he and his mother may be traveling in, the better.

“I think it's a great way to help find this missing person,” Verhegghe said.

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