Amber Alert Delayed, Praised

Broadcasters and law-enforcement agents have never been faced with an Amber Alert like the one they had to put out this week, and hope they never have to again.

When a Missouri mother was killed and her fetus removed, it did not meet the criteria of an amber alert because police could not provide any identifying characteristics.

The alert was initially denied, though after a few hours it went out following pressure from Nodaway County, Mo., Sheriff Ben Espey.

The police said Friday after the baby was recovered, due to an anonymous tip generated by the alert, that the baby might never have been recovered without it. "It is the greatest thing that ever happened to law enforcement and to our children," said Nodaway County, Mo., sheriff Ben Espey.

Espey pushed to have the Amber Alert issued after it was initially turned down.

Missouri police later said the Alert might have to be tweaked to take into account this situation, though noone could recall a precedent.

The alert is a way for police to quickly post missing-child information on radio, TV and outdoor signage.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.