There have been six AMBER Alerts issued in Ohio so far, about half are for domestic violence

Posted at 6:11 PM, May 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-11 23:17:15-04

The blaring emergency tone is enough to jolt you out of bed and urgent enough to force you to pay closer attention to your surroundings.

For the 21 years it has been in place, the AMBER Alert system has helped bring countless children home, including two Willoughby Hills children in March.

Willoughby Hills police initiated an AMBER Alert after they say Clarence Davis pointed a gun at their mother (his girlfriend) and took off in her car with the kids inside.

"It ended with the relative bringing the child to the police department," said Sergeant Mike Gerardi.

Davis later turned himself in.

The Willoughby Hills alert was one of six sent out since January. Sergeant Mike Gerardi says although that was the first AMBER Alert in Lake County, domestic disturbance calls come in at least once a day.

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"A family member will call  and say there is a problem, so and so is fighting in the residence," said Gerardi

In fact, more than half of the AMBER Alerts issued in recent years stemmed from domestic issues. But Gerardi says while the alerts may seem frequent, "it is a big area when you deal with a big populous of people. Obviously, it is going to increase the number of AMBER Alerts you get."

In context, it is still a very rare occurrence.

"My experience is that these AMBER Alerts are coming from Columbus, they are coming from Pennsylvania, these AMBER Alerts come from all over. They cast a wide net," said Gerardi. 

There is a strict criterion that police departments have to meet to request an AMBER Alert, including whether the child in question is in imminent danger. There also needs to be a vehicle involved and a license plate number.