Lawmakers will make a push next Tuesday morning to get “Hailey’s Law” onto the Governor’s desk.
This will be another attempt to pass the proposal, after the last couple of years have seen it fall short of the finish line in the legislative process. The is bill centered around speeding up the issuance of amber alerts.
Representative Curtis Trent (R-Springfield) has been one of the bigger forces behind “Hailey’s Law”, named after 10-year-old Hailey Owens who was kidnaped, raped, and murdered by Craig Wood in 2014.
The goal behind the proposal is to cut down the time it would take to issue an Amber Alert
“People recognize the need for that. To me, it is common sense,” Trent says. “First it requires that the police systems be integrated digitally with the Amber Alert systems.”
This means that an officer could issue an amber alert from their own vehicle if need be. Another requirement would be that the oversight board for the amber alert system would meet annually to discuss the progress of the law.
“They would evaluate how well the system is working to try and identify any additional areas of improvement that we can find,” says Trent.
Representative Trent says that cutting out a few steps to issue the alert is crucial for more positive outcomes.
“Under the old system, a lot of times in order for a police officer to issue an amber alert there had to be a physical form filled out, and it would have to be faxed to a central location or they would have to make a phone call. Each time you have an additional step, you add time,” Trent explains.
Time is precious in Amber Alert situations. One person that has gone on record supporting Hailey’s law is the father of Craig Wood.
Back in February of last year, Jim Wood explained how he thinks getting the word out faster could have changed things.
“The Amber Alert was not released for 2 ½ hours and where my deep involvement and my deep emotion is on that evening I was within walking distance of Craig’s house,” Wood said. “If the authorities would have made any contact with me and asked me something if I knew where Craig lived, I could have walked to his house.”
Even though the proposal has not become law yet, Representative Trent had praise for police for implementing the changes that this legislation would bring, even without them being required at this point.
Earlier this month, Craig Wood was sentenced to death for Hailey’s murder.