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CHP responds to negative reaction from AMBER Alerts

Published On: Aug 08 2013 08:04:58 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 08 2013 08:10:59 PM CDT
REDDING, Calif. -

With the latest emergency warnings being sent out, several questions have been raised about AMBER Alerts. Many of those concerns involved cell phone alerts that startled California residents.

Police are searching for a San Diego County man suspected of shooting a woman and kidnapping her two children. The California Highway Patrol issued a state-wide Amber Alert Monday night. 40-year-old James Lee DiMaggio is suspected of killing Christina Anderson, 44, and kidnapping one or both of her children: Hannah Anderson, 16, and Ethan Anderson, 8.

The AMBER Alert drew numerous complaints on social media sites and elsewhere.

The CHP said they sent out the alarm for necessary reasons, hoping to notify millions of people in the easiest way possible. But they said people have raised concerns about the sound and a perceived intrusiveness.

Monday was the first time the alert was used since being implemented nationwide on December 31. Law enforcement officials hope people can look past the tone and realize the benefits.

"We do understand that it's inconvenient, especially if it's coming in the evening time,” said CHP Northern Division Public Information Officer Lacey Heitman. “However, the importance, and if it were your children, you would want everyone in the world out looking for them, or keeping their eyes out for them at least.”

The Highway Patrol said that according to statistics, the first three hours after an abduction are the most critical.

“To us it's just the safety factor. We just encourage the public's help and assistance in looking for this vehicle and for these children,” said Officer Heitman.

Heitman said being able to quickly engage the public is a top priority for law enforcement.