Changes in Amber Alert Notification and New Statewide Alerts for Missing People Prompts NTX Law Enforcement Seminar

On Friday morning, officers and deputies sat with guns in their holsters, and paper and pens on tables. "We'll be talking about the regional Amber Alert system," the speaker at the podium said. "The regional Amber Alert system started in 1996 after the kidnapping and murder of Amber Hagerman in Arlington, Texas."

It was the case that gave the Amber Alert its name. Tarrant County Chief Deputy Jerry Vennum remembers that day.

"I was on patrol the day Amber Hagerman came up missing," Venvum said. "I was listening to the radio and I did not have the information that the local police department had that day and I thought, man, everybody in the world is headed this way. What's going on?"

When Hagerman disappeared, there was no system to alert police and the public to look out for a kidnapped child. Now the regional system has been updated to include email notification, in addition to fax and phone call. 

On September 1, Texas also started two new missing person notifications; the Camo Alert for missing military with diagnosed PTSD or mental illness, and the CLEAR Alert for missing adults between the ages of 18 and 64.

The CLEAR alert stands for Coordinated Law Enforcement Adult Rescue. The letters also correspond to victims. The "C" is for Cayley Mandadi, a 19-year old Trinity University student who was murdered in 2017. Her case helped prompt the new CLEAR Alert.

"The allegation is that my daughter was kidnapped by a known suspect, driving a known vehicle, in a known location, at a known time," Cayley's mom, Alison Steele, explaned. "It was a textbook opportunity to have this kind of intervention if it had been available."

Texas has not declared a CLEAR Alert in the few weeks it's been on the books.

Military members have to opt-in for the Camo Alert to give permission to put their name out there if they were to go missing. Law enforcement says so far, no one has registered.

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