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University of Iowa News Release

June 16, 2003

Davies Honored For AMBER Alert Team Work

Jim Davies, chief engineer for University of Iowa public radio stations WSUI/KSUI, has received a Governor's Golden Dome Award for his work with the Iowa AMBER (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response Alert) Team.

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack presented the 2003 "Team of the Year" award to Davies and a team of state employees and organizations for developing and implementing the Iowa AMBER Alert Plan, in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa State Patrol, the Division of Criminal Investigation, the Iowa Broadcasters Association and the National Weather Service.

The third annual Governor's Golden Dome Awards Ceremony, held June 9 at the State Capitol in Des Moines, honored more than 250 state employees and staff teams from throughout Iowa who are recognized for leadership, length of service, service results, volunteerism and courage.

"At a time when we are asking these employees to do more with less, it is more important than ever to recognize those who continue to show an amazing commitment to public service," Vilsack said.

Utilizing the existing infrastructure and talent, the Iowa AMBER Alert Team created an efficient and effective system to aid in the apprehension of child abductors. While many states have taken 10 to 18 months to create such a
system, the Iowa AMBER Alert Team was able to create a successful system within a six-month period. Iowa's AMBER Alert Plan became effective March 13.

Immediately after a child has been kidnapped and is considered endangered, law enforcement officers launch an AMBER Alert by informing broadcast media of critical details, including a description of the suspect and his vehicle. Radio and TV stations use the Emergency Alert System to interrupt their programming with the emergency information. As a result, millions of people can be on the lookout almost immediately for the kidnapper's vehicle and the child. Across the country, AMBER Alert Plans are credited with helping safely recover children.

The AMBER Alert Plan was started in 1996 after 9-year old Amber Hagerman disappeared from her Arlington, Texas, neighborhood while riding her bicycle. A neighbor was able to give some details of the car involved, but no system was in place to get that information to local residents quickly. Amber's body was found four days later. Hoping to prevent such tragedy from happening again, area residents suggested that the media relay kidnapping information the same way severe weather warnings are issued.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: George McCrory, University of Iowa News Services 319-384-0012,