Why do AMBER Alerts take so long?
When a child is abducted, triggering an AMBER Alert, time is of the essence in getting the word out, which is why we have the alert system. But there was a carjacking today in Oakland that resulted in an AMBER Alert, and the word didn't get out at all quickly:
12:40 - Carjacking occurred, according to the California Highway Patrol
13:29 - First mention of license plate number on Twitter (from @oaklandpoliceca)
14:03 - First tweet I can find mentioning an AMBER alert
14:28 - First tweet in my tweet stream (from @LosAltosPD)
16:09 - Timestamp in text of AMBER Alert email (CHP via Nixle)
16:16 - Text message received from Nixle
16:34 - Date header in AMBER Alert email
16:35 - Email received from CHP via Nixle
That's almost 4 hours from the time of the incident. The abductor could be long gone by then. Was the delay caused by humans or by network overhead getting the message out?