Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation this weekend that makes it a crime to report a false Amber Alert in California. He has major supporters such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
However he has at least one critic. University of Southern California professor, Barry Glassner, remains critical of the system and bills.
The governor actually signed two bills. One makes a false alarm that results in an Amber Alert punishable by a year in jail, or a fine of one thousand dollars — or both. The other could make you liable for the costs of an emergency response should you file a false report.
It is easy at first to dismiss Mr. Glassner’s concern but his argument is based on the accuracy of the statistics and the true risk to children. How accurate are the statistics?
An Amber Alert cannot be issued by a private citizen but only by law enforcement. California claims a recovery success rate of 100%, are false Amber Alerts a major issue?
Most states have laws regarding filing false police reports. Are missing children reports excluded? Providing false information to law enforcement has happened recently in several situations utilizing significant resources.