Human error sends out wrong Amber Alerts to TV viewers

by: Essex Porter Updated:

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Two little girls who were the subject of an Amber Alert are safe after someone stole a car in Pasco, with them in the backseat.

They were found quickly, even though TV viewers were mistakenly shown a months-old Amber Alert on their screen.

That alert originated at the state’s emergency operations center at Camp Murray, where they spent the day trying to figure out what went wrong.

“When something like that happens, that doesn't meet our high standard, so we really, truly regret that this happened,” said state emergency services director Robert Ezelle

On Facebook, Greg Taylor posted his anger about the false alert-- demanding a refund for the false alarm that interrupted his TV show last night.

Amber Alert coordinator Jay Compton wasn't on duty last night but spoke to the colleague who was surprised when the wrong information was broadcast.

“The duty officer was extremely blown away, and very, very embarrassed and very, very worried about the process, he said.

The department and its outside vendor spent the day going over the computers and the process, and concluded that the mistake was an operator error.

“We want to be able to put out correct information 100 percent of the time,” Ezelle said.

The correct Amber Alert did go out on cellphones, because they come from a different system that doesn’t go through the state’s emergency operations center