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A bill sponsored by Assemblymen Ruben Ramos, Craig Coughlin, and Charles Mainor to help widen the quick dissemination of Amber Alerts in the event of a missing child received final legislative approval on Monday.

“This bill will help cast a wider net over those who receive Amber Alerts so that hopefully we can save the lives of many more innocent children,” said Ramos (D-Hudson).

The bill (A-2781/S-1431) would require certain public employees or officers of the state who possess publicly-issued wireless devices to enroll in the national Wireless Amber Alerts Initiative to receive Amber Alert text messages.

“Amber Alerts have proven extremely effective in locating abducted children before that window of opportunity closes when many incidents turn tragic,” said Coughlin (D-Middlsex).

“Even if one more child is saved because of this measure, it will have been worth it,” said Mainor (D-Hudson).

This requirement would apply only to employees or officers using a wireless telephone or electronic communication device 1) issued by a public entity that has contracted with a wireless telephone company that participates in the national Wireless Amber Alerts Initiative; 2) that is capable of receiving text messages; and 3) that is subscribed to or enrolled in a plan that allows the telephone or device to receive text messages.

The New Jersey Amber Plan is a voluntary, cooperative program between the law enforcement community and the broadcast media to send an emergency alert to the public when a child has been abducted and it is believed that the child’s life is in danger. The national Wireless Amber Alerts Initiative is a voluntary partnership between the wireless industry, the United States Department of Justice, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to distribute Amber Alert text messages to wireless subscribers who register to receive the messages.

The bill now heads to the Governor for his signature.