Alabama’s AMBER Alert criteria revised at Gov. Ivey’s request following Bessemer incident

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Gov. Kay Ivey requested a change to the AMBER Alert criteria after a sleeping baby girl was taken with a stolen vehicle from Bessemer on Wednesday evening, and not found until around 4 a.m. the next morning in Alabaster.

An AMBER Alert was not issued as part of the search, as the incident did not meet the previous requirements for the alert to be issued, despite the Bessemer Police’s request for one.

As a result of her request, ALEA Acting Secretary Hal Taylor revised the guidelines, a release from the governor’s office said Friday. Taylor announced that the finding of an “abduction” shall no longer be required for an AMBER Alert to be issued, mirroring the U.S. Department of Justice’s recommended criteria for issuing the alert. The policy change is effective immediately and will result in more AMBER Alerts being issued in the state.

“We need to protect the children of our state. Though we pray that an AMBER Alert is never needed, I asked Secretary Taylor to broaden the scope of our AMBER Alert requirements to safeguard as many children as possible,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “This change today ensures that we are keeping the public better informed. AMBER Alerts give all Alabamians the opportunity to be involved in caring for our most vulnerable asset, our children.”

“It is the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s goal to rescue abducted and missing children. By expanding our criteria for issuing an AMBER alert, we will further that goal, and hopefully, make sure that as many vulnerable children as possible are protected from those whom would do them harm,” ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor added. “Due to ongoing investigations, we may not always release why an alert may or may not be issued, but we will ensure that all cases are evaluated against this new standard.”

The new guidelines can be found at www.amberalert.gov/guidelines.htm.

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