ETX Amber alerts not affected by government shutdown

ETX Amber alerts not affected by government shutdown

The national AMBER Alert website was back up Monday after confusion resulting from its offline status over the weekend.

Some people thought government shutdown might be causing a delay in the efforts that go into locating a child when one goes missing. But in Texas, no matter what's going on at the national level, law enforcement officers said there will never be a delay when it comes to activating the critical warning system.

When Lee Russell takes his three kids to the park, their safety is number one.

"You know, I really don't know what I'd do if I lost a kid," he said. "Really [there are] no words. I mean what do you say?"

He was surprised the Department of Justice pulled the AMBER Alert website offline, but he was relieved to find out it Texas has its own system.

"There's no reason to worry whatsoever," Tyler Police Officer Don Martin said.

Martin said East Texas AMBER Alerts go through Austin--not Washington D.C.

"I mean we're talking within minutes, once we're on a scene and we realize we have a true abduction," Martin said., adding that even before the alert hits public signs and airways officers have already begun looking.

The Austin DPS office confirmed nothing hinges on what happens in Washington. The national website is just another way of getting the information out.

The Department of Justice said the site was put behind a firewall and taken offline to protect it while I.T. workers were furloughed. Now that it's back up, it's not clear where they found the money to do it.

Dads like Russell are just happy to know plans are in place no matter what happens.

"What do you do without an AMBER alert, you know what I mean?" he said. "No one would know what was going on."

There is another group that makes sure everybody has all the information they need about AMBER alerts. That is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They maintain a separate website with what's going on around the nation.


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