State police explain Amber Alert system - WNEM TV 5

State police explain Amber Alert system

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Many around Michigan woke up Monday morning to an Amber Alert on their phones and mobile devices.

That is the second alert in less than a week across the state. Some residents are questioning whether the alerts are being issued too liberally.

The alerts are issued by the Michigan State Police and only after certain criteria are met.

The alert went out Monday morning after police said a 3-month-old girl was driven away in a stolen vehicle.

Detective Sgt. Sarah Krebs, with the MSP, helps coordinate the Amber Alerts in Michigan.

"Not only does the general public get this alert, but so do the suspects at times and I really think it makes them believe that they know they're being looked for and they often times want to distance themselves immediately from the missing child," Krebs said.

Police said in the case on Monday they were able to find the missing baby just minutes after the alert went out on cell phones.

"We believe that the suspects that had the baby in the car immediately dropped that baby off onto the front porch of an occupied home," Krebs said.

In order for an Amber Alert to be issued the child must be 17 or younger. The missing child must also be reported to police and there must be a reason to believe a child is at rick of serious injury or death.

Krebs said in order for a wireless emergency alert to be sent out to the public's cell phones other criteria must also be met.

"Our criteria to set off the WEA in Michigan is an active Amber Alert that has vehicle and plate information involved in it," she said.

Each state has its own policies for handling Amber Alerts.

Krebs said Michigan is considering adopting a secondary alert system that would make certain alerts more localized.

"Many cases we have don't have a need for setting off your phone in the middle of the night like a child that was on foot and wandered. We don't believe that they're gonna get very far, so we wouldn't have to alert the entire state. It can still be handled at a local law enforcement level," Krebs said.

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