Cell Phone Warning For AMBER Alert Delayed 30 Minutes

Posted at 8:23 AM, Mar 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-13 09:32:14-04

It was an AMBER Alert that gripped the Mid-State this past weekend, so why did it take a full 30 minutes to send out the wireless alerts to your cell phone?

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an AMBER Alert just after 12:30 a.m. Sunday for three kids that police said were taken by Keith Tansil. 

But the emergency text alert wasn't sent to phones until after 1 a.m

While the TBI is the group that issues AMBER Alerts, the TBI said getting the message out is far from simple. It contacts the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the National Weather Service, among other groups, when an AMBER Alert is issued -- all of which take time. 

It also contacts the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, based in Washington DC -- and the TBI said it's that group that sends out the text alerts to phones across the state.

"That's often the biggest misconception about the AMBER Alert, that there's a big red button that someone hits in TBI Headquarters, and that's simply not a fact," said John Devine with the TBI.

The TBI said one of its first priorities during an AMBER Alert is to post on their Twitter and Facebook pages. They added that you may be able to get AMBER Alert info there faster, rather than waiting for a cell phone alert.