Last week, Facebook announced the launch of 53 new pages supporting Amber Alerts for each state, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is good news for the nation and for Ohio. Maintained by the Department of Public Safety, the Ohio Amber Alert Plan uses the resources of law enforcement, the media, the Ohio Lottery, and now Facebook to notify the public when a child is missing.
In 2004, the Ohio Lottery began working with the Department of Public Safety to support the Amber Alert Plan. Thus enabling the Department of Public Safety to utilize the Ohio Lottery’s extensive retailer network to inform the public when a child is missing. The Ohio Lottery’s Office of Security works in unison with our gaming system vendor to notify our retailers and players that a child has been abducted.
When an Amber Alert is activated, messages are sent through our terminals to every Ohio Lottery retailer in the State. This information is immediately posted to our retailer facing terminals and our customer facing displays. Messages include a description of the missing child and the suspected abductor. Jack O’Donnell, Deputy Director of Security for the Ohio Lottery said, “The Program is obviously doing some good for children placed in a bad situation.” Our goal is to use all of our employees, retailers, and customers as additional eyes and ears to help find an abducted child.
Since 2004, the Ohio Lottery has posted information on more than 50 abductions. Alerts on Ohio Lottery terminals run until the Amber Alert is cancelled by the Department of Public Safety. “The Department of Public Safety does a great job.” O’Donnell said, “On average an Alert runs for six hours and usually lasts for less than a day.” At the Ohio Lottery, we’re proud of our work with Amber Alerts and we’re glad that Facebook has joined us in this effort.