Maile-Amber alert system used once since creationUPDATED 7:16 PM HST Aug 08, 2013Video Transcript
Maui police were close to issuing a statewide Maile-Amber alert this morning for the missing child, when Lee showed up at the Wailuku police station with the infant. The Maile-Amber alert system has been in place in Hawaii since late 2002. But it's only been used once in the past decade. KITV4's Andrew Pereira joins us from the newsroom to explain the criteria of when Maile-Amber alerts are issued. Andrew? Paula, Yunji... Maile-Amber alerts are never issued automatically. Investigating officers must quickly determine if a child is in danger. Tip Gilbert holds a portrait of his 6-year old daughter Maile Gilbert... kidnapped from her home in 1985 before being murdered. TIP GILBERT: "IT WAS 27 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, THE 25TH OF THIS MONTH WAS THE DAY MAILE WENT MISSING." Over nearly three decades, Gilbert has dedicated countless hours to ensure no other parents would feel the pain he and his wife were forced to endure. One big part of that is the Maile-Amber alert program. TIP GILBERT: "SO ANY TIME YOU HAVE A CHILD THAT IS IN HARM'S WAY, THAT'S WHEN A MAILE-AMBER ALERT WILL BE ACTIVATED." State Attorney General David Louie says police must judge three important aspects of any abduction case before issuing a Maile-Amber alert. The child has to be under the age of 17, there's a likelihood the child will suffer serious bodily injury or death, and there must be sufficient information about the abductor, the child and their possible whereabouts. DAVID LOUIE: "SOMETIMES THOSE CRITERIA ARE MET, SOMETIMES NOT." The Maile-Amber alert system has only been used once before in Hawaii... in June 2005 when a woman's pickup was stolen with her 4-month old baby girl still in the back seat. DAVID LOUIE: "YOU KNOW THAT'S A JUDGEMENT CALL THAT'S IN THE DISCRETION OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, THE POLICE OFFICER ON ALL OF THE FACTS THAT THEY LEARN ABOUT AT THE TIME." The Maile-Amber alert system is a voluntary partnership between the state AG and island police departments... with other state and county agencies taking part. However Tip Gilbert has his own posse. TIP GILBERT: "MYSELF AND THE PACIFIC KNIGHTS MOTORCYCLE CLUB AND OTHER MOTORCYCLE CLUBS AROUND THE ISLAND, WILL JOIN IN TO HELP US LOOK FOR THE CHILD." Gilbert says as many as 500 club riders can deploy within minutes. And when it's a missing child in harm's way, every minute counts. TIP GILBERT: "THE LONGER THE CHILD'S MISSING, THE LESS CHANCE YOU HAVE OF GETTING THEM BACK." Maile-Amber alerts are broadcast over the state's emergency broadcast system, the same system that keeps you informed during weather emergencies. Yunji, Paula... back to you.