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Time Warner Cable installers will now look out for missing children

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If your Time Warner Cable technician is late to an appointment fix something at your house, they might be on the lookout for missing children instead. The cable giant, which is in the process of being acquired by Comcast, today said it's given all 18,000 of its technicians tools to receive and possibly act on AMBER alerts if they're in the area where an incident is reported. If the technician gets the alert, they won't drop everything they're doing and go into vigilante mode, Time Warner says. Instead, they're basically supposed to keep an eye out and call police.

"A heightened sense of alertness."

"TWC will use its Global Security Operations Center in Charlotte, N.C., to receive alerts from [The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children] and will redistribute them in real-time to personnel within the alerted area," the company said in a statement. "TWC technicians will perform job duties as normal, except with a heightened sense of alertness. In the event that a child, adult or vehicle fitting the AMBER alert description is spotted, TWC personnel have been trained to immediately contact local law enforcement."

The AMBER alert system, which is an acronym for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, is named in honor of Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old who was abducted and murdered. The system was created in 1996 to alert local areas of missing children using TV, radio, and later mobile phones, and has led to 695 successful recoveries of missing children since its introduction. Similar programs exist internationally, though often go by other names.