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OUR VIEW: Amber Alert shows how efficiently system can work

We don't know this for certain, but it's possible that two lives were saved Monday night. And we need to thank the Amber Alert system for that. On Monday night, a mass Wireless Emergency Alert was sent out to specific areas in South Dakota to not...

We don't know this for certain, but it's possible that two lives were saved Monday night.

And we need to thank the Amber Alert system for that.

On Monday night, a mass Wireless Emergency Alert was sent out to specific areas in South Dakota to notify citizens that a suspect who authorities were seeking was in the area. The alert explained a man from Washington was on the run with his two children, one of whom had a severe medical condition.

Within 10 minutes of the alert going out, the man was located driving on Interstate 90 near Kimball, where law enforcement later arrested and charged him with abuse of or cruelty to a minor.

The process worked exactly as it was designed.

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Three tipsters called in the location of the suspect, authorities located the person of interest, and the children were safe.

Hundreds of Amber Alerts have been utilized since the program's inception in 1996, and typically we don't hear about them in South Dakota. That's obviously good news, as South Dakota has seen only six Amber Alerts since 2003. But it was also refreshing for us to see an Amber Alert be successful just 50 miles west of Mitchell.

The program in itself is wonderful. Each state has at least one Amber Alert representative who works with law enforcement to ensure an alert is necessary.

Then, when specific criteria is met, such as ensuring there is a threat to children, a secondary agency sends out information to local media to distribute to its readers and viewers.

Through the Wireless Emergency Alert and allowing media outlets to distribute the information, thousands of people can be looking for one person.

We realize the system isn't flawless, as children who are listed on Amber Alert sadly die each year.

But, as Monday showed, children are saved directly because of Amber Alert and the Wireless Emergency Alerts. And we're thankful each time the system works.

Related Topics: OUR VIEWKIMBALL
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