N.J. Revises Amber Alert Guidelines
April 29, 2010 at 5:13 AM (PT)
The state of NEW JERSEY has announced new guidelines for using the AMBER ALERT system when relatives abduct children after the system was not activated in the kidnapping and presumed killing of a three-year-old girl by her father.
The new guidelines allow state police to activate the AMBER ALERT system if they believe the child may be harmed or killed, and the police may consider histories of child abuse and domestic violence in determining when to activate the alerts. Prior to the revision, the use of the alerts in family dispute situations was unclear.
The alert was not issued in the high-profile case of ZARA MALANI-LIN ABDUR-RAHEEM, the girl whose father allegedly abducted her, then told police he threw her off a bridge on the GARDEN STATE PARKWAY into the RARITAN RIVER. A body was found SATURDAY on the riverbank and is believed to be the child. Police notified law enforcement agencies but did not activate the AMBER ALERT.
ALL ACCESS hears from some NEW JERSEY broadcasters that no sooner were the AMBER ALERT rules changed than NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE issued an alert at 7:03p ET that repeated several times in the hour because of a technical snafu. The alerts' end-of-message code did not work, and each attempt sent out another alert, interrupting radio, television and cable programming across the state.