NAB backs nat’l alert plan

Capitol Hill pols want new office created

WASHINGTON — The National Assn. of Broadcasters Tuesday threw its support behind legislation creating a national Amber Alert system for abducted children, saying TV stations across the country already have helped local authorities by quickly spreading word of an abduction.

“Broadcasters are uniquely positioned to disseminate information rapidly to an entire community. No other industry is capable of broadcasters’ reach in conveying this information,” NAB prexy-CEO Eddie Fritts told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

Following a series of abductions this summer, Capitol Hill pols said a new office needs to be created within the Justice Dept. to coordinate various state efforts. Legislation introduced this week would accomplish this.

Eighteen states have adopted Amber Alert systems since the NAB, child advocates and law enforcement authorities launched the project last year in Texas.

This summer, California authorities credited the first Amber Alert with helping to find two kidnapped teens.

“Without question, when it comes to child abductions, time is of the essence,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said during Tuesday’s hearing.

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