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How Amber Alerts work once a child is missing

Posted at 5:48 PM, Oct 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 19:15:57-04

Two young girls were abducted last night in a Baker’s parking lot as their mother loaded groceries into her car near 30th and Martin

The incident triggered an Amber Alert for the two eight month olds.

They were found safe a short time later.

 In a situation like this one, time is of the essence.

An Amber Alert Coordinator for the Nebraska State Patrol says it's a process.

If the initial search for the child and the person of interest is unsuccessful, the police department will then submit information to issue an amber alert.

Sophia and Alexandra Lewis were missing for nearly two hours before they were found.

The call was dispatched at 8:02 pm, then Omaha Police Department informed KMTV to get the information out to the public at 8:48 pm.

 At 8:50 Omaha Police Department was in contact with Nebraska State Patrol about preparing an Amber Alert.

Then at 9:27 pm the paperwork was complete to issue the alert, and it was issued at 9:32 pm.

"It is not a common occurrence for the officer on the street to be able to handle immediately, the officer has to deal with a parent that just had a child abducted, then have to get info on the vehicle, the child, the direction of travel,” said Amber Alert Coordinator Jeremy McCoy.

“Notify supervisors in most cases, notify dispatch and try to arrange for people to look for this vehicle." McCoy continued.

McCoy says certain procedures must be completed before the alert can be made.

"Paperwork has to be filled out from the agency that is requesting the activation of the amber alert, so that we have accurate information to put out to the public,” McCoy said.

“There is also liability forms for the parents or guardians of the child to complete as we are issuing info about juvenile out to the public to the media, we want to be sure of what we are issuing," McCoy continued.

This system is used to keep the Amber Alert effective.

“It's a lot of verification to be sure that we don't over use the Amber Alert system."

The Nebraska state Patrol says it typically takes a half hour to an hour between the time a child is reported missing to when an Amber Alert goes out to the public.