Police Work to Transition Amber Alert System to Online

Published 03/18 2014 07:22PM

Updated 03/18 2014 07:24PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Less than a month after the kidnapping and murder of 10-year-old Hailey Owens, changes to Missouri's Amber Alert system will come online as early as this week.

On February 20, KOLR10 aired a report about a requirement of the state Amber Alert System that an officer in the field needed to call back to the police station where worker's there would print and fill out a three-page form by hand. Workers then fax that form in.

During the Amber Alert process for Hailey Owens, filling out that paperwork ate up the most significant amount of time in issuing the Amber Alert.

That is about to change.

The State of Missouri is leaving printing and faxing in the past and going to an electronic submission for required Amber Alert forms in an effort to help local law enforcement move quickly during a critical time.

"The form that we used in the past always required an agency to print the form off, fill it out by hand and fax it to Troop F for the Amber Alert to be entered,” says Captain Greg Kindle, Amber Alert Administrator for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “The new form that we just developed is an electronic form that can actually be pulled up on the website. Filled out. It's a fillable PDF and then submitted to Troop F electronically which should speed up the process.”

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been testing the fillable PDF form with agencies across the state. At a terminal in the Osage County Sheriff's Department, and law enforcement vehicles in Boone County and St. Joseph, a trooper tested the form from his vehicle in Poplar Bluff. All of the tests were successful.

"We just completed testing on it this morning and it should be up an running on our website by Wednesday, hopefully,” says Captain Kindle "It should speed up the information flow from the originating agency to us to get it entered into the system."

Right now, when the Highway Patrol receives the transmission they are required to input the information three times into three different alerts .

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is working with the Department of Justice so operators would only have to input the information once.

Speeding up the process and also pushing immediately to social media.

"The new system we've been testing with the Department of Justice is going live in all 50 states but it will require just one entry and it will cover it all,” says Kindle.

Part of streamlining this process has been done in conjunction with the Missouri Broadcasters Association.

While a committee in the state dictates how the Amber Alert is carried out, the Highway Patrol has been able to make many of these streamlining changes administratively.

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