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Inconsistent Amber Alerts raise questions at the 2017 Northeast Ohio Amber Alert Training

Posted: 5:12 PM, Nov 09, 2017
Updated: 2017-11-09 18:09:00-05

We've seen case after case of Amber Alerts gone wrong.

Back in May in Perry Township, State Police refused to an issue an Amber Alert for a kidnapped child, even though local police thought one was warranted.

One month earlier in Willoughby Hills, it took the local department four hours to issue an alert for two children who were taken at gunpoint.

So News 5 tagged along for this year's Northeast Ohio Amber Alert Training in Independence to find out the guidelines for sending out an Amber Alert and what warrants that level of concern.

"For an Amber Alert, we need to make sure that they are under 18 years of age, we need to know that they were taken away against their will, we need to know any information in regards to a suspect, a suspect vehicle and that basically their life is in danger," said Chief John Majoy of the Newburg Heights Police and the regional Amber Alert Chairman.

During his remarks, Chief Majoy praised the case in Willoughby Hills.

"They adapted and they overcame and it was a very very successful alert," he said.

But again, it took officers more than four hours to issue the alert.

Christopher Minek, a supervisor at the CECOMS center where Amber Alert calls are taken, says officers couldn't get the Amber Alert criteria verified any sooner.

"You have a small department like Willoughby Hills who only might have one or two investigators compared to like a city of Cleveland who might have 20 or 30," he said.

Minek says his department is trying to find ways to improve the system.

"We are trying to update the forms, update the criteria, trying to get the public knowledge of what to expect," said Minek.

Once CECOMS gets the call, they send out the Amber Alert in less than 20 minutes, but there is no standard or time limit for individual departments to declare a case worthy of an alert.