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Uber's AMBER Alert program, piloted in Denver, goes nationwide

Uber announced that its AMBER Alert program was launched nationwide after successfully being piloted in Denver. The company began testing the implementation of the alert system, which is designed to alert people in a geographic area by any means necessary about an abducted child in the region, in July 2015.

The Colorado-based branch of the ride service developed the idea and brought it to fruition. Explains Will McCollum, general manager of Uber of Colorado, "These are real people on the road at that time, they're the eyes and ears, and if they can help out local authorities our drivers want to do so."

As of August 2015 the AMBER Alert Program has been vital to recovering 772 children across the U.S. It's a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies and the wireless industry and pushes out all available information about serious child abductions. They're broadcast through radio, television, road signs and all available technology, including cell phones. Uber harnessed its power as a network of drivers and riders to incorporate the service.

"The AMBER Alert program's success is built on the ability to reach the right people at the right time with these potentially life-saving messages," says Robert Hoever, director of special programs, Missing Children Division, National Center For Missing & Exploited Children. "Uber's presence in communities all across the country will be an incredible asset and we are proud to team up with Uber to increase the reach of the AMBER Alert program and help bring more missing children home safely."

Uber's drivers in more than 180 cities across the U.S. will now receive time-sensitive and critical AMBER Alerts specific to their region through their app. The company explains that its "driver-partners" now receive geographically targeted information that may help to locate and recover a missing child as soon as a bulletin goes out.

"As a data-driven company, we understand the power of information for communities," Uber says of the service. "Since day one, our mission has been to connect people with reliable rides through the use of data and technology. As our footprint has grown throughout the years, so has our ability to use the Uber network in different ways."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Read more articles by Chris Meehan.

Chris is a Denver-based freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. He covers sustainability, social issues and other topics.
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