Questions surround AMBER Alert case near Rochester

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A teenager who was believed to be in trouble when police issued an AMBER Alert is now in trouble with the law.

Cassidy Geffert, 16, was never actually abducted and is now facing charges for taking a handgun. Greece Police say more charges could be filed.

The alert issued for Geffert rang on cell phones across Western New York and left many wondering how decisions are made to issue alerts like this.

AMBER Alert Criteria | Review the guidelines for when to send an AMBER Alert

Senator Patrick Gallivan says he doesn’t blame police for using the cell phone alert in this case, because he said it’s always better to err on the side of caution when someone’s life could be in danger.

The system did help locate Geffert even though she wasn’t in danger. Greece Police Chief said there was no blood on the note like originally thought, and no ‘confirmed abduction’ the way it was reported on the AMBER Alert.

New York State Police in Albany put out the actual alert, but it’s still unclear what caused the erroneous information.

Gallivan said, “A concern of course is false reports. If you have too many of them, of course people don’t pay attention, like the boy who cried wolf and when there’s a time when someone is in need and its ignored it can lead to a tragedy.”

It’s still a mystery what went wrong in the communication process between the initial investigation and the actually AMBER Alert being sent out.

Time isn’t on investigators side. There’s only about a three-hour window to get information and then issue an alert before someone could be seriously hurt or killed.

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