Child and Elderly Missing Alert Program

Floor Speech

By:  Lamar Smith
Date: Sept. 11, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, H.R. 4305, the Child and Elderly Missing Alert Program, was introduced by my Judiciary Committee colleague, Mr. Chabot. I thank him for his work on this issue.

A child goes missing in this country every 40 seconds. Almost 800,000 children are reported missing each year and 500,000 go missing without ever being reported.

In many cases of missing children, the AMBER Alert system is activated to help law enforcement and community search efforts.

However, in order to issue an AMBER Alert for a missing child, law enforcement officials must have a description of the child, the suspect, the vehicle if there is one and how the abduction took place. Additionally, they must be able to confirm that the child has in fact been abducted and did not simply wander off on their own.

Without evidence of an abduction, law enforcement officers cannot issue an AMBER Alert. This is where programs like the Child and Elderly Missing Alert Program step in.

Experience shows that time is of the essence when searching for missing persons--particularly young children and the elderly.

H.R. 4305 would allow funding under the Justice Department's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program to go toward rapid recovery phone call and alert systems that can be deployed when children and elderly persons are missing.

Such programs complement the AMBER Alert program by quickly disseminating information about missing persons within targeted geographic areas even when the information available is minimal.

Having a child, elderly or disabled loved one go missing is any family's worst nightmare. H.R. 4305 provides a critical tool in the efforts to find missing persons.

I again thank the gentleman from Ohio for his work on this issue and I urge my colleagues to join me in support of this bill.

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