EDMONTON (CITYNEWS) – “Thanks for waking me up a-holes, this should not be province-wide,” reads a tweet that was published minutes after Albertans learned of missing Edmonton child.
At 9:42 p.m. Friday, Edmonton police issued an Amber Alert for a missing eight-year-old boy. At 9:45 p.m. electronic devices buzzed and rang with an emergency alert telling people to be on the lookout for this boy and his abductor.
The child was said to be in “imminent danger.”
A follow-up alert with new information was sent at 11:38 p.m.
It didn’t take long for people on social media to complain about how late in the evening the alerts were sent out.
“I get it sucks but it’s a nuisance to the public as everyone gets notified.”
Another tweet reads, “I hope they fine-tune this system more. People hundreds of kilometres away from the Amber Alert area being woken up by a loud alarm in the middle of the night is ridiculous.”
“Lay of the stupid alerts at 23:30 morons.”
“Please no more alerts, we are all on the lookout and checking for updates on all the various sites.”
“How does an eardrum-bursting alarm help anyone?”
“This screaming sounds of alert is not even helpful for the missing child in Edmonton.”
This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise to some after hundreds of complaints were posted to social media in February after an emergency alert went out for an Amber Alert in Ontario.
And while everyone may not agree the alert was necessary, Edmonton Police say they take alerts very seriously.
“It’s unfortunate if people are upset about receiving an Amber Alert,” said Staff Sergeant Ashley Emerson.
Thankful the recent Amber Alert had a successful outcome.
Very disappointed to learn of people calling #Calgary 9-1-1 to complain about being woken up & interruption to their TV shows!
— Cst. Mark Smith (@CstSmith) March 17, 2019
“Obviously that’s why we don’t take using the Amber Alert system lightly. We take it very, very seriously and we only use it in a situation where it’s necessary.”
He suggests if the emergency alerts are a true bother to someone they should speak to their service provider on how to “power down” the alerts through the night.
“We certainly wouldn’t want to lose this system, obviously we can see the benefit of it. We were able to safely recover this eight-year-old as a result of this system. We’re very happy to have it. And I believe the majority of citizens are willing to assist us in these investigations.”
Those people willing to help were also vocal on social media Friday night into Saturday morning–some calling out the people complaining for being “selfish”. Others shared the original alert and were understanding of investigators’ efforts in making sure the threshold was met before issuing an alert.
Every minute counts, alerts will get your attention faster than looking at an article every 5 minutes. This is a child that was abducted, so I’m sorry if an alert is bothering you but a child is in imminent danger! Imagine if it was someone you knew. You’d want the alerts sent.
— Britney Garratt (@_britney1304) March 16, 2019
“Every second counts,” reads one tweet in response to a complaint. “Imagine if it was someone you knew. You’d want the alert sent.”
Another Twitter user says the alerts are a minor inconvenience for people receiving them in favour of helping a child in danger.
So sorry you all got woken up. This alert could save this child's life!! How is the province supposed to know where you currently are? Yes you probably reside somewhere other than YEG or YYC but people travel. #growup #selfishpricks
— Myleen Ring (@MyleenRing) March 16, 2019
Again people complaining about an alarm – what if it was your child – it startled me too, but it is a child’s life!
Well, ab emergalert, please feel free to wake me up any time for any amber alert. A childs welfare is more important than… anything. Really.
If the updates are really bothering you that much you can turn your phone to vibrate, however this is a little boys life we are talking about, so please stop commenting to complain that an emergency alert is disrupting your night, incredibly selfish
— s.k.robertson (@skrobertson4) March 16, 2019
Emerson says, regardless of any of the complaints, this particular alert had successful results.
-with files from Dalia Ashry, Carly Robinson