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Gov. Bush Lauds Billboards in "Amber Alert" Network

Date: September 09, 2003



Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has praised billboards as an effective public service vehicle in the Amber Alert network to recover missing children.

On August 18, the third anniversary of the Florida Amber Plan, Bush held a news conference in Tampa to unveil a new billboard design that will complement the missing-children alerts issued via state-owned electronic signs on the right-of-way.

"Through these billboards and e-mail alerts, we have the potential to reach thousands of Florida citizens," Bush said. "The general public often plays a critical role in locating a missing child."

The nationwide Amber Alert system is named for Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old abducted in Texas in 1996. Her body was found four days after she was pulled from her bicycle. Up to 4,600 children are abducted by strangers each year, according to federal figures.

Charlotte Brand, FOAA president and CEO, has served on the state's Missing Children's Advisory Board since 2000. She explains how the system works in Florida:

"State-owned 'smart signs' carry immediate alerts about the abduction of a child. Billboards (vinyl bulletins) become part of the program if the child is not found in the early stages of the search.

"Association members donate space for 20 locations each year to the missing children program."

State law enforcement officials say the alert system has helped recover at least nine abducted children.

Pictured above is the new billboard design that was
unveiled at the press conference on August 18.


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