SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Many of you likely received an Amber Alert on your phone Sunday night after police said they believed a Gulfport girl was kidnapped. Though that little girl is safe, police want to make sure you always take an Amber Alert seriously.
Sunday night, authorities released an Amber Alert for 3-year-old Taniya Edwards after it was believed she was kidnapped.
"It met all the criteria for an Amber Alert, and you guys were notified, the media was notified, and social media. All those aspects came into play and very quickly," said Sgt. Josh Bromen, with Gulfport police.
The alert included a description of Taniya, the woman she was believed to be with, a description of the vehicle she could be in, and where she was last seen. It's information officials said helps the public provide tips.
"We started receiving tips, and we got in contact with the grandmother, and we were able to determine that it in fact was a custody issue rather than a kidnapping," said Bromen.
Though Taniya was found safe a short time later, police said not all outcomes are good. That's why they urge everyone to take time to read the alert.
"Just takes a second of someone's time, and if it can be the difference between bringing home a child. That initial two to three hours once we send out that Amber Alert. They are gonna be within that proximity. They are gonna be within that viewership. They are gonna be within that immediate area," Bromen said.
In order for an Amber Alert to be issued, serious guidelines must be met.
"The biggest ones being, is the individual under the age of 17? Is the individual in immediate threat or danger," Bromen said.
Another criteria; is there enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue an Amber Alert to assist in the recovery of the child? On the Amber Alert website, it states these requirements are important, because without them, abuse of the system could occur and ultimately weaken the Amber Alert's effectiveness.
According to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, the agency has only issued two Amber Alerts in our state this year. In both instances, the children involved were found safe.