Ontario’s provincial police are utilizing social media to help bring abducted children home safely, launching an Amber Alert Twitter account on Tuesday.
“When an Amber Alert is issued, timing is critical, and police need to get information out fast,” Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said in a release.
“With the use of Twitter, an Amber Alert will travel among thousands of cellphones and electronic devices within seconds.”
Today is the launch of the AMBER Alert twitter account. Please help us create a following. Ontario AMBER Alerts will be posted here.
— AMBER Alert Ontario (@OPP_Coordinator) May 20, 2014
A new 511 call service was also announced. It works in conjunction with overhead highway signs after a deal with Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation.
“Now when motorists see an Amber Alert on overhead highway signs, they can dial 511 for information regarding the Alert in effect to obtain information on the suspect vehicle and more,” the release stated.
The service is voice-activated and can be used hands-free.
“The public is reminded that dialing a cellphone while driving is considered distracted driving and subject to a fine,” the OPP warned.
OPP deputy commissioner Brad Blair touted the new tools as crucial updates to the program.
“Through the use of social media we can reach many people quickly,” he said. “And this is critical during an Amber Alert activation.”