Nevada Assembly passes statewide Amber Alert bill |

Nevada Assembly passes statewide Amber Alert bill

BEN KIECKHEFER, Associated Press

The state Assembly voted unanimously Monday for a measure creating a statewide “Amber Alert” system for Nevada.

AB322 creates a statewide committee to establish and oversee the alert system. The committee is a partnership of law enforcement agencies and broadcasters.

The alerts, which would be disseminated over an emergency broadcast system, would notify the public about child abductions and any pertinent information that would help in locating them, such as vehicle descriptions.

After the Assembly vote, Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins, the bill’s sponsor, said acting quickly is essential in attempts to recover abducted children.

“We know that over 70 percent of children that are abducted (and murdered) are killed within the first three hours, so this gives us a great opportunity to recover them safely,” Perkins, D-Henderson, said.

He also said he expects the bill to have “pretty smooth sailing” through the Senate, where it now moves for consideration.

Also included in the bill is a provision allowing the committee to name the statewide system in recognition of one or more people, and Perkins said he thought “Amber Alert” was an appropriate name because it’s well known.

Amber Alerts are named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl abducted in Arlington, Texas, and later found murdered. Such alert systems have been credited with rescuing 32 children nationwide since they came into use in 1996.

In order for an Amber Alert to be issued, the investigating law enforcement agency must confirm a child under 18 years old was actually abducted, that the child is in significant danger and there is sufficient descriptive information about the child or the suspect.

Once they have that information, the law enforcement agency would contact a local broadcaster, who could then activate the emergency broadcast system and the information would go out to broadcasters around the state.

Participation in the system is voluntary, and the bill provides immunity against civil liability for broadcasters who put out the information.

A previously approved amendment to the bill removed a provision requiring parental approval before the system is activated. Perkins said occasionally parents are suspects, or simply can’t be located.