WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - DC Police are massaging their message about whether the agency issued Amber Alerts outside the District of Columbia after a WUSA9 investigation.
Police now say they only told other agencies about the DC only Amber Alert, but acknowledge they did not issue Amber Alerts elsewhere.
"I only have the authority to issue an Amber Alert within my own jurisdiction," acknowledged Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier in a news conference Thursday. "As soon as that Amber Alert is issued in that jurisdiction we make a request through Emergency Management that that Amber Alert that we issued here in Washington DC be pushed out through M-NET which is an emergency network across the county."
Monday MPD denied the results of a WUSA9 investigation that found Amber Alerts were delayed to cellular providers and not extended beyond the District.
"That is not true," Lanier said Monday. "Actually I looked into that when I got the allegation. The AMBER Alert was issued as far north as Pennsylvania and Delaware and as far south as Florida."
If that had been true, TV stations across the East Coast would have been broadcasting Relisha's disappearance, cell phones would have been tweeting, and electronic billboards along the Atlantic would have been blasting Relisha's image from Pennsylvania to Florida.
Our investigation found the Amber Alert was only activated in the District of Columbia, and identified not one case where the District requested a state to activate an Amber Alert.
And except for DC, Maryland and Virginia, where stories had aired, when we checked our Gannett sister stations and CBS affiliates from Delaware and Pennsylvania to Florida – none had done a single story on Relisha Rudd.
Now, because of WUSA9 requests, that is changing. At our request, stations we contacted in every state from Pennsylvania to Delaware agreed to run a story on Relisha Rudd, stories that would have run seven days ago had Amber Alerts been issued in their states.
Also because of the WUSA9 request, 11 Gannett Sister publications, including USAToday.com, are now covering the disappearance of Relisha Rudd from coast to coast.
Link to new video of Relisha Rudd: http://www.wusa9.com/story/news/local/dc/2014/03/27/relisha-rudd-dancing-video/6970961/