New Law Paved Way for AMBER Alert Text Message

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If your cell phone woke you up with what sounded like an emergency alert Monday night, you aren’t alone.

Sunday night marked the first statewide AMBER Alert sent out via text message. It’s a law that automatically went into effect on January 1.

“Anyone who has a cellphone with the capability of receiving text messages, received a message last night notifying them of the AMBER Alert system,” Adrian Quintero with the California Highway Patrol told FOX40.

It’s a system that will likely only be broken out during potential statewide AMBER Alerts, like the abduction of 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and 8-year-old Ethan Anderson allegedly at the hands of James DiMaggio in San Diego County on Saturday. It’s believed after killing their mother in her Lakeside home, he grabbed the children and is fleeing to Canada with them.

It’s a push by law enforcement and wireless association to move the alert system from the familiar roadside message boards to the palm of your hand.

And if you have an out-of-state cellphone number, you aren’t exempt. The new system sends an alert to any cellphone “pinged” in to a California cell phone tower – meaning it functions by location, not your phone’s area code.

“You could be from Arizona visiting California and  you would receive that notification,” said Quintero.

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