A new Amber Alert system for East Texas will help officials speed up the process of reporting a missing child.
Under the regional system, officers can send information about child abductions to a center in Longview. The center will dispatch information to radio and television stations via the Emergency Alert System. The Tyler Morning Telegraph reports the regional system to be used in 14 counties, including Rains and Van Zandt, will supplement the statewide Amber Alert program.
Under the state program, if an agency has a reported abduction, detectives have to gather information then pass to pass along to Austin where investigators from the Missing Person Clearinghouse and members of the governor's division of emergency man-agement determine if an alert is warranted. The lapse of time could be more than an hour after the agency first requested the alert.
The new system will have East Texas law officers sending requests to the center in Longview to be immediately dispatched via EAS to radio and television stations.
In the state program, detectives must believe the child is in danger of suffering serious bodily injury or death.
The East Texas program adds the possibility the child may be the victim of sexual assault or is under the age of 14 and with a nonfamily mem-ber at least three years older, to the criteria.
Other participating counties include Anderson, Camp, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Marion, Panola, Rusk, Smith, Upshur, and Wood.