BEDMINSTER, NJ — Verizon Wireless announced today that it will provide its customers who opt-in with free Wireless AMBER AlertsTM, short TXT messages with information about abducted children.
Wireless AMBER Alerts will be distributed in cooperation with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and local law enforcement agencies. The alerts will appear as text messages on a customer's wireless handset, and will include information about the abducted child and a telephone number for law enforcement for the customer to call to report any information on that child.
"Mobile service plays such a constant role in people's lives, and Wireless AMBER Alerts is another example of how critical information can reach you on your wireless phone. In the case of abducted children, studies show that the first few hours can be critical to recovering the child alive, and we know many people keep their mobile phone with them 24/7," said Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. "We're very proud to provide this important service at no cost to our customers, and to extend our history of cooperation with law enforcement into another critical arena."
"Nothing is quite as rewarding as finding an abducted child and reuniting them with their family," said Ernie Allen, president of NCMEC. "We thank Verizon Wireless for making available Wireless AMBER Alerts to their customers, so we can all work together to distribute Alerts to as many people as possible."
Signing Up for Wireless AMBER Alerts
Verizon Wireless customers with handsets capable of receiving text messages must choose to receive Wireless AMBER Alerts on those handsets. They can opt-in by going to www.verizonwireless.com, and choosing "send TXT Messages" from the Get It Now® drop-down menu, or by logging directly into www.vtext.com, Verizon Wireless' TXT Messaging site. After logging in, customers go to the Alerts page and choose the "News and Tech" category, then click on the Wireless AMBER Alert banner. They will then be prompted to enter a zip code for the state or geographical area for which they want to receive Wireless AMBER Alerts. When signing up, customers can also select times each day when they do not wish to receive Alerts.
Wireless AMBER Alerts are issued by local law enforcement agencies all 50 states have AMBER Alert programs. A full list of the AMBER Alert plans can be found on NCMEC's Web site, www.missingkids.com.
Verizon Wireless customers may also visit www.wirelessamberalerts.org where they will be asked to enter their wireless phone number, and then will be automatically directed to the Alerts page on the www.vtext.com site. They will need to log in to the site using their mobile number and password, and follow the steps to sign up for Wireless AMBER Alerts.
Delivering Wireless AMBER Alerts
NCMEC, in cooperation with local law enforcement, will issue a Wireless AMBER Alert. These Alerts will be delivered in the form of a text message to those customers who have chosen to receive the Alert and will include pertinent information about the abduction. Customers are then encouraged to call the number included in the Wireless AMBER Alert or call 9-1-1 to report any information on the abducted child to the appropriate authorities.
About Wireless AMBER Alerts
The Wireless AMBER Alerts initiative is a voluntary arrangement among the wireless industry, including Verizon Wireless, law enforcement agencies, and NCMEC. AMBER stands for "America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response" and was created in 1997 when broadcasters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to find abducted children. President Bush authorized the national AMBER Alert program as part of the PROTECT Act signed in 2003, formally establishing the federal government's role in the AMBER Alert program and appointing the Department of Justice as the agency responsible for coordinating AMBER Alerts on a national level. The Department of Justice has officially partnered the NCMEC, authorizing it as the agent that coordinates and disseminates AMBER Alerts to secondary distributors including wireless service providers. To date, AMBER Alerts have been credited with the successful recovery of more than 200 children.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 45.5 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
About The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
NCMEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. NCMEC's congressionally mandated CyberTipline, a reporting mechanism for child sexual exploitation, has handled more than 313,000 leads. Since its establishment in 1984, NCMEC has assisted law enforcement with more than 106,000 missing child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 92,000 children. For more information about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit www.missingkids.com.