FARMINGTON -- The presentation of a check for $16,508.64 by the Davis Chamber of Commerce Women in Business on Thursday included time to celebrate the advancements of the Amber Alert System in Utah.
The donated money will be used for educational materials for the public and police materials that remind officers of the criteria for issuing an Amber Alert.
Starting Jan. 1, all people with cellular phones within a given area will receive an alert during waking hours whenever the system is activated.
Previously, only those who had signed up for the service were notified.
"We want the public to know that they will get an Amber Alert," said Paul Murphy, Utah's Amber Alert coordinator, in an interview.
"If you try to get a kid in Utah, we're going to catch you," said John Swallow, Utah attorney general, in accepting the check at a Davis Chamber Women in Business luncheon.
"This contribution and your efforts collectively will make a huge difference for us. ... I'm amazed at what a group of dedicated women can accomplish."
The donated funds were raised Nov. 3 at a western hoe-down sponsored by the Davis Chamber Women in Business Amber Alert Committee.
Committee member and Utah Amber Alert spokeswoman Elaine Runyan Simmons said the committee over five years has raised $50,000 for the cause.
She said in contrast to the community-coordinated efforts that the Amber Alert instigates instantly, her family spent $10,000 just in sending out mailers during the weeks that followed her daughter's disappearance 31 years ago, before she was found dead.
"We think in terms of making a difference in economics," said Davis Chamber President Jim Smith, outlining his office's efforts. "This is making a difference in the quality of life where we live."
Murphy said the Amber Alert is making a difference throughout the country.
Two weeks ago, he said, a girl saw an alert on her phone and shared it with her dad in Minnesota.
"He looked out the window, and the car was there," he said. "They caught the guy."
Murphy's dream is to be able to eventually fund a two-day conference that will train people and police dually on the Amber Alert system and solutions to the growing sex-trafficking problem. He said:
"We are finding that there is a correlation between sex trafficking and child abductions."