Amber Alert system sends out multiple alerts to thousands in Northeast Ohio

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 9:22 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A little boy who was abducted by his father from his Akron after he shot the boy’s mother is safe and the suspect, Juan Castro, 24, is in jail.

The Amber Alert that went out may have played a role in the arrest of the suspect, on Cleveland’s west side, but some people received the alert 2 or even 3 times, even after the alert had been cancelled, and that has led to questions regarding the operation of the amber alert system.

John Majoy is the Chief of Police in Newburgh Hts., and is also the chair of the Northeast Ohio Amber Alert Committee and said that he hopes soon improving technology will prevent some from receiving the alert, on occasion, multiple times.

During an Amber Alert event Majoy estimates that a few hundred people will receive the alert at least 2 times, but on Monday into Tuesday during the Amber Alert event in Akron, thousands received the alert more than once.

“The problem is, when it’s sent out, it is crossing over (cell phone) towers and if you’re on the border of a quadrant when it’s sent out, it’s going to keep sending it out to make sure you got it,” Majoy said, “It’s kind of like sending a document to a printer, the computer is going to keep sending it make sure it’s printed and so sometimes that happens and some folks get 2 or 3 alerts.”

Majoy understands the frustration some people feel when they get that blaring alert, called a wireless emergency activation, more than necessary as it can be quite startling.

But the information is critical, “There is going to be folks that are inconvenienced and we understand that, but the greater good is at the end to find the child safely and bring that child home safely,” Majoy said.

There is a great deal of confidence that the technology used to deliver the alerts will continue to improve and the number of duplicate alerts sent out will decrease as that technology improves.

For now, Majoy said he hopes people will take into the account the great success the system has enjoyed.

“When you look at the 34 alerts we’ve had in Cuyahoga County, in Northeast Ohio, in the last 7-8 years, all of which have been successful, many if not all of them, a key element was the alert,” Majoy said.