FDLE creates ‘Enhanced Missing Child Alert’ for missing kids who may not have been abducted

FDLE creates ‘Enhanced Missing Child Alert’ for missing kids who may not have been abducted

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Law recently updated the state's Amber Alert program by adding new criteria to include cases where children who are missing and are in danger but don't appear to have been abducted.

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FDLE said a Florida Enhanced Missing Child Alert can be activated when a child is missing and officials have a "well-founded belief based on an active investigation that the child is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury."

An Amber Alert can only be activated when police believe a child was kidnapped and is in danger of being killed or seriously injured.

FDLE told Action News Jax that it has been working on this upgrade since the summer.

Action News Jax learned FDLE was able to use the new criteria for the Enhanced Missing Child Alert for the first time when it was reported that 5-year-old Taylor Williams disappeared from her Jacksonville home Wednesday. Then, according to FDLE's spokeswoman, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office asked that it be updated to an Amber Alert.

Here's a breakdown of the difference between Amber Alerts and Enhanced Missing Child Alerts:

Amber Alert criteria:

1. Child must be under 18 years of age. 2. The local law enforcement agency has a well-founded belief based on an active investigation, that a kidnapping has occurred. 3. The local law enforcement agency has a well-founded belief based on an active investigation, that the child is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. 4. There is a detailed description of the child, or the abductor or the abductor's vehicle to broadcast to the public. 5. The local law enforcement agency recommends activation.

Amber Alert dissemination methods:

• Statewide law enforcement BOLO • Flyer created and distributed • Media is contacted • Flyer posted on FDLE website • Flyer posted on FDLE social media accounts • Emergency Alert System is activated for broadcast TV and radio stations • Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA or cell phone alert), between the hours of 7a.m. and 10 p.m. • Florida highway road signs are activated • Information is sent to retailers through Florida lottery machines • Email and text distribution for citizens who sign up at www.missingchildrenalert.com • Secondary distribution

Florida Enhanced Missing Child Alert criteria:

1. Child must be under 18 years of age. 2. The local law enforcement agency has a well-founded belief based on an active investigation, that the child is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. 3. There is a detailed description or photograph of the child. 4. The local law enforcement agency recommends activation.

Florida Enhanced Missing Child Alert Dissemination Methods:

• Statewide law enforcement BOLO • Flyer created and distributed • Media is contacted • Flyer posted on FDLE website • Flyer posted on FDLE social media accounts • Florida highway road signs are activated • Information is sent to retailers through Florida lottery machines • Email and text distribution for citizens who sign up at www.missingchildrenalert.com • Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA, cell phone alert), between the hours of 7a.m. and 10 p.m.

  • A WEA may be used when law enforcement has a reasonable belief that the child can be located within a defined geographic area.
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