WCHS: State police must follow extensive protocol for AMBER Alert

Word of Jaddah Rodger’s abduction in Beckley spread on social media hours before police issued an AMBER Alert Wednesday night.

State Police Lt. Danny Swiger was the man who decides when, and if an alert goes out.

“We appreciate social media that gets the message out there,” Swiger said. “But we still have to adhere to our investigative guidelines and we do our best to get it out as soon as we can.”

Swiger said, in the roughly five hours between the abduction and the alert, police had to run through a checklist of guidelines.

The first is confirming an abduction actually happened.

“Law enforcement takes an initial call, and has to investigate a little further to see if they have a legitimate case,” Swiger said.

Second, they made sure the victim is under 18.

Next, police had to figure out if the abductee is in an immediate danger of serious harm or death.

Finally, they had to have enough details about the suspect, victim, and car to make a difference in catching them.

“If I just have a name to put out there that’s not always helpful,” Swiger said.

If those criteria haven’t been met, there is no AMBER Alert issued.

“We don’t want them to be commonplace, where you see them every day and you don’t pay attention to it,” Swiger said.

Swiger said if every alert isn’t legitimate, urgent, and helpful people will tune them out.

“If you drive through a construction zone every day for a period of time, you don’t always pay attention to the signs to slow down,” Swiger said.

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