I have been a little shocked at the amount of twitter chat involving criticism of yesterday's Amber Alert in Edmonton and frankly, as a parent and a citizen, I don't understand it.
How was there not enough concern to warrant an Amber Alert in this case? I don't believe we should be participants of generating criticisms of our police force when they themselves are 1. Pleased with the overall process and the outcome of this incidence; 2. Hailing the quick thinking of the playground program staff; and 3. Encouraging us as citizens to continue to report suspicious incidents like this.
I understand to some this might have seemed like a waste of resources because the outcome was good. However I suspect these same people would have different criticisms if the outcome had not been good and the situation had not been reported or acted on in a timely fashion.
While you ponder the situation, consider this. A child is dropped off by an adult at the start of a playground program. These community programs have supervised hours through out the day. Before the end of that supervised period a different adult, whom you don't recognize, comes to take the child. Maybe the child doesn't want to go (stop playing) and puts up a fuss, but this adult takes the child anyway. Imagine now that this is not reported and three hours later the original adult comes back to pick up their child only to find they've now been missing for three hours.
A lot can happen in three hours... Now imagine this is your child and I think you'd find that an Amber Alert would be more than called for.
I think the Amber Alert program has been a great way to improve communications in the community and cross communities with other police services when a situation dictates speed is of the essence. I think the police need to have the confidence that they can use it whenever they feel justified and that we will trust in that, false or not. Indeed, isn't the best outcome of this that it was false to begin with and that the child is safe?
Just my humble opinion, of course. But I do strongly believe it's never a waste of anyone's time or resources if they are spent in the attempt to help one of the more vulnerable members of our society. Also, I think huge kudos should go out to the team of people who were involved in looking for this child and discovering that he was safe so quickly. Bravo.