Police field complaints again about Amber Alert

(Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / daisydaisy)

The Ontario Provincial Police want to remind the public again that 911 is not an appropriate venue to complain about Amber Alerts.

Residents across Southern Ontario woke suddenly around 3 a.m. Thursday, when York Regional Police requested an Amber Alert to report two young boys last seen in Newmarket with their grandfather, were missing.

Police credited the Amber Alert for helping find the boys, two-year-old Harrison Larocque and his four-year-old brother, Keegan Larocque, safe in Toronto. However, some called 911 or complained on social media that they were, yet again, disturbed from their slumber.

The response on social media came fast and held no punches.

The OPP said the decision to issue the alert was based on established criteria and was not taken lightly. So far this year, five Amber Alerts have been issued. Four resulted in the safe return of children. The fifth ended tragically on February 14 when police found the body of 11-year-old Ria Rajkumar and arrested her father.

It was after that incident that police spoke out about complaints from the public.

Thursday, police were unrepentant for issuing the Amber Alert.

“The OPP recognizes the inconvenience the alert may have caused, but will not apologize for using all of the tools available to help locate a child,” read a statement. “The only option to not receive these alerts to a mobile device is to have your device turned off. However, if your device is turned off, you will be unable to receive any emergency alert that may contain information of imminent danger in your area.”