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Davis Defends “Amber” Alerts

Governor Gray Davis is defending the new “Amber alert” program that´s designed to catch kidnappers. The system gives police agencies an instant pipeline to the media so they can ask broadcasters to put out the word as soon as a child has been abducted. Law enforcement officials say the system helped the California Highway Patrol and Kern County sheriff´s deputies catch and kill the man who kidnapped two teenage girls in Lancaster last week. But some people complained that it took five hours to activate the system after the kidnapping. Others say the state should have adopted the system earlier, rather than experimenting with pilot programs in just 12 counties. After meeting with representatives of two-dozen television and radio stations in Los Angeles yesterday, Davis said the system is basically sound but needs some “fine tuning.” He promised “Amber alerts” would be working smoothly within three months.