MAILE AMBER ALERT TEST SCHEDULED THURSDAY

February 18, 2009, 8:27 AM HST · Updated February 18, 8:30 AM
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(Posted by Wendy OSHER © 2009)

A test of the state’s MAILE AMBER Alert system will be conducted on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 11:45 am.

The MAILE AMBER acronym stands for Minor Abducted in Life-threatening Emergency and America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response.

The test will originate from the Kauai Police Department LÄ«hu’e headquarters and broadcast through the State Civil Defense Emergency Alert System (EAS).

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It is one of two tests held each year to ensure that the equipment is working properly and procedures are in place in the event of an actual alert.

According to Assistant Chief Roy Asher, head of KPD’s Investigative Services Bureau, a MAILE AMBER Alert would be issued if the following criteria are met: an abducted victim is 17-years-old or younger; the victim is believed to be in a life-threatening situation; and sufficient information about the child, suspect and/or suspect’s vehicle is available that an immediate broadcast alert would help to locate the child or abductor.

“The program is designed to spread the word statewide as quickly as possible and help us find children who have been abducted,” said Asher.

If a MAILE AMBER alert was activated in Hawai’i, the public would be notified via the State Civil Defense EAS, broadcast media and the state Department of Transportation’s freeway signs (O`ahu).

Detailed Information about the child, suspect, and suspect’s vehicle would be provided, which would hopefully lead to the child’s recovery.

AMBER Alerts are also available to wireless users who can opt to receive geographic-specific messages on their wireless devices or cell phones through an AMBER Alert wireless messaging system.

Wireless subscribers with the ability to receive text messages can sign up to receive AMBER Alerts by registering at www.wirelessamberalerts.org or by visiting their wireless carrier’s website.

The MAILE AMBER Alert program was established in Hawai`i four years ago as a partnership between the following agencies: four county police departments; state Attorney General’s Missing Child Center of Hawai’i; State Civil Defense; state Department of Transportation; and the media.

The program was named in memory of six-year-old Maile Gilbert of Kailua, Oahu and nine-year-old Amber Hagerman of Arlington, TX.

Maile was kidnapped from a party in Kailua on August 25, 1985 and murdered shortly afterward. The man who killed her was located several hours after it happened and led detectives to Kaena Point where he had buried Maile’s body. He is serving a life term in prison.

Amber was riding her bike in Arlington, Texas on a Saturday afternoon when an unknown male kidnapped her. She was found murdered four days later and her killer was never identified.

For more information about the MAILE AMBER Alert program, please contact Charlene Takeno with the Missing Child Center of Hawai`i at 808-271-1127.

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