Instead of showing critical missing children bulletins, the federal Amber Alert website on Sunday displayed a sparse, white screen with a simple message: It's a victim of the government shutdown.
"Due to the lapse in federal funding, this Office of Justice Programs website is unavailable," the message reads, just below a U.S. Department of Justice seal.
The website normally displays urgent alerts from across the nation about the most at-risk missing children, helping to connect citizens and law enforcement across all participating jurisdictions.
California Highway Patrol officials told NBC4 that if an Amber Alert is issued in California, authorities will page the media. Messages on freeway signs would need to be ordered by Sacramento, as that program is federally funded, CHP officials said.
It remained unclear Sunday night exactly how the shutdown might otherwise reduce an Amber Alert's effectiveness, if one should be issued during the shutdown.
California recently used the Amber Alert system when a San Diego County man killed a close friend and her child, then kidnapped her daughter, Hannah Anderson, a teenager. FBI agents later found her safe and fatally shot her captor in Idaho, after hikers happened upon the pair in the wilderness and later saw media reports about her case.
First published October 7 2013, 5:53 AM