FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Wondering why you didn’t receive Saturday night’s Amber Alert for Salem Sabatka? You’re not alone.
Fort Worth police gave an update on the case of kidnapped 8-year-old Salem Sabatka on Sunday, where they discussed how she was found safely and why there were issues with the Amber Alert being sent out to the general public.
Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said an Amber Alert was issued for the child, but due to certain criteria not being met, citizens may not have received the alert on their phones. Many throughout social media said they never received the alert on Saturday.
The criteria in question had to do with the suspect vehicle’s description, specifically the license plate number. On Saturday, police were only able to say that the vehicle had paper tags.
“In this instance, we had a vehicle description. A semi-vague vehicle description. But not a plate,” Fitzgerald said. “So we were able to leverage what we could out of the Amber Alert system and our social media, and that’s what really helped us… social media saved the day for us.”
Mayor Betsy Price was also in attendance, and she believes there may need to be a change in the Amber Alert’s guidelines.
“The Amber [Alert] program developed years ago when there were not so many cellphones or door cameras or video surveillance, and I don’t know if they’ve updated their guidelines… they probably need to visit that again,” Price said.
Fitzgerald said it concerns the department that it appears the Amber Alert wasn’t received by much of the general public.
“We will work endlessly to find out why that criteria is set the way it is…” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald and Price said they don’t believe the issue was a glitch.