The Amber Alert website has been brought back online after an outcry over the weekend with the site being taken down, amid the partial government shutdown.
Despite what the website read, the Department of Justice said on Monday the Amber Alert notification system remained fully functional during the government shutdown.
“At no point has Amber Alert system been interrupted during shutdown. To prevent confusion, informational DOJ site has been restored,” spokesman Brian Fallon said on Twitter. He added two alerts were issued over the weekend.
Although the amberalert.gov website did present a message saying it was unavailable “due to the lapse in federal funding”, the DOJ said the site merely carries information “about DOJ’s role in providing trainings to states on how to have amber alert system”, CNN reported.
“Amber Alerts are issued jurisdictionally, by county or state,” the DOJ official told CNN. Adding that the Amber Alert system, which consists largely of press notifications, highways signs, and tweets, is functional and not affected by the shutdown.
The AmberAlert.gov website links to that of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“The Office of Justice Programs had the funds to run through Friday,” October 4, after which it “furloughed all of employees. Being they couldn’t monitor websites, they were put behind a firewall to keep from being hacking or having security issues,” said the DOJ spokesman.
“We had to bring in a furloughed employee to re-open the site,” Fallon continued to tell CNN. “It’s “unclear if we will have the funds to monitor the site.”
A senior Justice Department official said, the decision was made because there was a “public safety worry because of incorrect reporting that the program itself was down,” as opposed to just the federal website.
Amber Alert Website Shut Down
The informational website shutdown over the weekend, but came back Monday