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Amber Alert activation process addressed by officials

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Updated: 8/14 11:28 pm

LATHAM, N.Y. – Officials said there’s a lengthy process that must be followed before an Amber Alert can be activated.

The New York State Police issued an Amber Alert Wednesday for two Amish girls who police said were abducted from a family roadside stand in St. Lawrence County. It took authorities nearly four hours to release the alert to the public leaving many asking why?

Police said there’s a long process that goes into issuing an Amber Alert.

First, the child cannot just be missing. Local police must determine that the child’s life is at risk. Local police must then present that criterion to state police who have to also determine if there’s imminent danger. The investigation could take time depending on the circumstances.

Senior Investigator Gary Kelly is the state’s Amber Alert Coordinator. He said local law enforcement must have “reasonable cause” a child is in imminent danger before state police can issue an Amber Alert.

“[It] could include multiple interviews. It could include searches,” Kelly said. “Depending on the size of the department, the resources available, the time of day or night. All those things are factors that come into play with how long that investigation could take.”

Kelly said half of children recovered were a direct result of the Amber Alerts. He attributes other recoveries to cell phone tracking, eye witness and other sources.

The two girls, Fannie and Delila Miller, ages 12 and six respectively, were found alive Thursday.

Police said the public can be notified of Amber Alerts by enacting the wireless emergency alert on their cell phones.

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