Inspector Scott Williams is in charge of the Investigative Support Branch for Brantford Police Service. The following are his comments on the use of the Amber Alert.
The Ontario Amber Alert is a warning system that quickly alerts the public of an abducted child who may be in danger. Time is critical in saving the lives of abducted children, and the main objective of the Amber Alert is always the safe return of the child. The decision to utilize the Ontario Amber Alert is based on established criteria, and is never taken lightly. Information obtained quickly through an Amber Alert may assist with the child’s safe and successful return.
Guidelines for requesting the Ontario Provincial Police to initiate an AMBER Alert have been distributed to all Ontario police services. The guidelines are used to ensure all alerts are appropriate. Once a child is abducted, there is no way to determine the exact location the abductor is headed, and as time passes, there is a growing geography of concern. The abductor could travel quickly, using various forms of transportation, so it is important to alert the entire province. As the abductor or vehicle information may be known to people in other areas of the province, issuing a province-wide alert may result with more information to assist with the investigation.
In Canada, the most common form of child abduction is by a parent or guardian. The term “parental child abduction” refers to when one parent takes, detains, or conceals a child from the other parent. Police decide on a case-by-case basis whether issuing an Amber Alert would assist in the recovery of an abducted child.
The Brantford Police Service actively investigates all criminal matters, and our measured response is indicative to the risk assessment of the incident. Our Service stands by our decision to connect with our policing partners to activate an Amber Alert.
On Thursday July 25, 2019, just after 12:00 a.m., the Brantford Police Service responded to a 9-1-1 call about abduction and an assault at an address on Bissett Avenue, Brantford. A male, known to police, orchestrated a ruse so that he could abduct his two year old child from the child’s mother. Accomplices of the male attended at the mother’s front residence door, and when she answered the front door, the estranged father gained entry by kicking in the locked back door.
After breaking into the residence, the estranged father assaulted the child’s mother and another occupant of the residence. He then physically removed his two year old child from the residence, and fled the area in a vehicle with the accomplices.
The Brantford Police Service follows strict guidelines for investigating child abductions. An investigation immediately commenced with experienced and seasoned supervisors who have Major Case Management backgrounds. A Senior Officer was consulted, who provided authorization to conduct an application of an Amber Alert.
Both prior to and after the Amber Alert, the investigation continued. The Brantford Police Service was assisted by the Ontario Provincial Police and Hamilton Police Service. The suspect vehicle was located in Hamilton, Ontario, and subsequent to that, further investigation revealed the location of the suspect. The suspect was arrested and the two year old child was located. Thankfully, the child was physically unharmed.
The Brantford Police Service gratefully extends thanks to the Ontario Provincial Police, Hamilton Police Service, and members of the public, for the successful completion of this serious criminal matter.
Unfortunately, people have taken the time to show their displeasure with the Amber Alert program. The Brantford Police Service has been inundated by numerous phone calls to our Communications Section, 9-1-1, and to our public email account. One person has called and complained 11 times; this is being investigated.
Some of the comments from our public email account are as follows:
• Why did you have to send 2 Amber Alerts for the same event? My phone received at 3:04am and 3:36am.
• You guys are absolutely crazy with your Amber alerts. I live 6 hours drive away, in another province and you feel waking me up at 3 am is required.
• Perhaps if you do your job, we could sleep.
• Yes, I leave my phone on, but not because I want to be harassed by law enforcement, because I have elderly parent who may have a legitimate need for help.
• Respectfully, do your job and stop harassing citizens
• Please, please work on technology to stop unnecessary and health damaging alerts to people asleep. Soon people will find solutions that negate any good that might come from amber alert program
• 3 o’clock in the **** morning- no- I haven’t seen her. This went off five **** times. I am in oshawa . What in the **** are you thinking
• Please stop sending the AMBER alerts to our phones in Ottawa. Since the abduction is in Hamilton, there is no way that the suspect is up in Ottawa, six hours away. We have things to do in the morning and this is the second time this night that the phone has woken us up, and it seems Brantford Police Services appear disproportionately on our phones here
The Brantford Police Service would like to remind the public that contacting the police service to complain takes resources away from legitimate police investigations. When a child is abducted, it is our duty to utilize any and all resources available to facilitate a lawful investigation, and to locate the child as soon as possible. We expect the public to support our stance.