(Pierre) - The South Dakota Lottery has joined the state’s Child Abduction Amber Alert network, and the machines that dispense Powerball, Dakota Cash, Hot Lotto and Wild Card lotto tickets can now help law enforcement agencies in child abduction cases.
When a statewide Child Abduction Amber Alert is issued, the South Dakota Lottery will send a special message through the lotto machines to all 350 lotto retailers across the state. Store clerks can print copies of the special message to post in the store and distribute to customers.
"The Lottery and its retailers are in a unique position to help," said Clint Harris, executive director of the Lottery. "The large majority of our lotto retailers are convenience and grocery stores, which have high customer traffic on any given day. We can help get the word out through the lotto terminals and hopefully increase the chances that an abducted child is rescued quickly and safely."
The special report can include information about the victim, suspect, and vehicle, as well as a phone number to report information to law enforcement. The retailers receiving the message must acknowledge the message before using the terminal for any other operation.
The display on the back of the lotto terminal, which faces customers, will also be changed to alert the public that an Amber Alert has been issued and to ask the clerk for details.
Gov. Mike Rounds announced the creation of the statewide Child Abduction Amber Alert network in March. The network quickly alerts law enforcement, news media, and the public about a child abduction in an effort to quickly get information to as many people as possible to help authorities rescue the abducted child.
Harris said he’s pleased the Lottery and its retailers can contribute to the important information system. "We’ve been working with our lotto retailers over the past two weeks asking for their help and explaining what to do if an Amber Alert is issued, and the response has been very positive," he said.
The public can also sign up to receive notification of an Amber Alert via e-mail by going to the state’s website at http://www.state.sd.us and clicking on the Child Abduction Amber Alert icon.