Officials are trying to improve the state's AMBER Alert system after issuing the first alert for a missing Alabama child Tuesday.
The alert was issued at 12:38 p.m. Tuesday for 11-year-old Robert Beck, Jr. of Kinston.
Minutes later, the alert was canceled when law enforcement officials were told the boy had been returned home.
The alert came almost 24 hours after Robert was last seen. Public safety officials say it took that long to get enough information to meet the strict standards for issuing an AMBER Alert.
Kinston police said they would not comment on the abduction until tomorrow afternoon.
The only other Amber Alert issued in Alabama came June 30, when Florida issued a nationwide alert after a mother abducted her two children.
The system involves radio alert tones, "crawl" messages at the bottom of television screens and messages on road signs.
A team of public safety officials have assembled to look at the process and where it can be improved.
Alabama Broadcasters Association Executive Director Jerdan Bullard said he was happy with the system's performance. But he also said he knows there is room for improvement.
Among the questions to be answered are: Why several area media outlets were not notified of the alert.
And why investigators took so long to gather the necessary information to get the alert out.
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The AMBER Plan
The AMBER Plan is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies and broadcasters to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases.
Broadcasters use the Emergency Alert System (EAS), formerly called the Emergency Broadcast System, to air a description of the missing child and suspected abductor.
This is the same concept used during severe weather emergencies. The goal of the AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe return of the child.
How Does the AMBER Plan Work?
AMBER Plans Nationwide
Source: http://www.missingkids.org/ (The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Web site)