BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - As the search for a missing toddler intensifies, Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said Monday there was a delay in reporting Kamille McKinney’s disappearance to officers.
“As many families think that they can resolve their issue on their own, they think that they can do just a quick search of the neighborhood or area to find a missing person or missing child,” said Chief Smith during a news conference. “There was a little bit of a delay in getting the information to law enforcement so we can conduct a thorough grid search of the entire area before putting out an AMBER Alert.”
It’s unclear how long the delay was.
Birmingham Police were first called to the Tom Brown Village Saturday night at 8:29. About three hours later, an Amber Alert was issued. Chief Smith said his officers worked as quickly as possible, searching the area, interviewing people and determining whether McKinney’s case met the criteria to issue an AMBER Alert.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) suggests officers verify an abduction occurred, believe the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death, have enough descriptive information about the child and suspect to help in discovery and enter that information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system before sending an alert.
Based on guidelines issued by the DOJ, that information should be shared with NCIC immediately, which is defined as two hours following the first report of the missing child.
“This is something that we try to do incredibly fast, especially considering the age of the child, but in this instance, it was delayed reporting to law enforcement,” explained Chief Smith.
A spokesman for Birmingham Police did not immediately know when officers determined an Amber Alert was necessary and when the notification process began. He did point out that throughout the investigation, police dispatch was sharing details about McKinney’s information to other law enforcement agencies so they could assist.
The Amber Alert is a statewide notification of a child who is in danger.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCEMC) told WBRC Fox 6 it was notified 11:40 p.m. Saturday of the AMBER Alert. Alabama’s Amber Alert coordinator requested NCMEC send the AMBER Alert to cell phones through the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. Those alerts were sent by midnight, which is the normal time for this process, according to a spokesperson with NCEMC.