|January 6, 2021 01:45 PM
|Representative Anthony M. DeLuca
|All House members
|Amending the Amber Alert Law for a faster response
|On August 31, 2019, a two-year-old girl in my legislative district, Nalani Johnson, was abducted. Her father reported the abduction to local law enforcement immediately. He also provided the police with the name of the abductor, the make and model of the vehicle she was abducted in, and the direction the vehicle was traveling. But because strict criteria must be met before an Amber Alert can be issued, an alert was not broadcast until hours later. Ultimately, the amber alert delay had tragic consequences. The first few hours are critical in any abduction. In this case, it allowed Johnson’s abductor to drive over an hour away, murder her, and leave her body in a park, where it was discovered three days later. In fact, it was not until after the abductor was taken into custody that the Amber Alert was broadcast to the public.
I believe we must provide a better, faster way for law enforcement to alert the public to such abductions. To that end, I will be introducing legislation which amends the Pennsylvania Amber Alert Law, requiring the Missing Endangered Person Advisory System to be activated immediately when a parent or family member reports that their child has been abducted, so that the public can be informed more quickly. By alerting the public sooner, it is my hope that an abductor could be apprehended earlier, increasing the chances of saving the child’s life. This provision will be known as the “Nalani Johnson Rule” in her memory. Please join me in co-sponsoring this simple but very effective change, so that we may help prevent further tragedies from occurring in the future.
Introduced as HB509