By Don Ward
SPARTA, Ky. (June 2005) In the search for a sponsor for this years IndyCar race, Kentucky Speedway officials came upon what may seem an unlikely partner, but one sharing the same needs as any corporate sponsor: exposure.
After spending the last four months ironing out the details with ABC-TV and the Indy Racing League, the Kentucky Speedway will play a role in the statewide rollout of the Amber Alert Web Portal system by hosting The Amber Alert Indy 300 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series event on Aug. 14. The sponsorship replaces the five-year run of race sponsorship by Belterra Casino Resort & Spa, which remains a corporate partner with the track.
The event will take place on the same day the Amber Alert Web Portal system is introduced to law enforcement agencies statewide. The portal will expand the states current kidnapping alert network which broadcasts messages to TV, radio and electronic highway signs to include cell phones, beepers, Personal Digital Assistants, email, computer desktops and lottery terminals, among others.
Were honored to be associated with this important initiative that will protect children throughout Kentucky, Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis said. Children are our most important priority, and were proud that Kentucky Speedway can play an integral role in the Amber Alert Portal introduction through this unique sponsorship.
Photo by Don Ward
Kentucky Lt. Gov. Steve Pence (left)
talks with track co-owner Jerry Carroll.
Kentucky Lt. Gov. Steve Pence and several state officials took part in the announcement of the sponsorship May 26 at the tracks infield media center. Pence then took a ride around the 1.5-mile tri-oval. Afterward, he told co-owner and chairman Jerry Carroll that he would be back to enroll in one of the fan driving schools that hold sessions there.
The Amber Alert Web Portal represents one way Kentucky is working to provide law enforcement officers as well as citizens with the most up-to-date information about a missing child, said Lt. Gov. Steve Pence. This web-based tool equips officers with the ability to receive critical data almost instantaneously, when minutes, even seconds count. This portal could mean the difference between life and death. Were calling on the public to sign up to receive Amber Alerts and send the message to kidnappers that if you take a child, we will all be looking for you.
The Amber Alert Portal Indy 300 will feature the IRLs top drivers in a 200-lap, 300-mile race, to be televised live on ABC-TV at 3:45 p.m. It will be preceded Aug. 13 by the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series race, featuring the leagues up-and-coming drivers who will take the green flag at 3 p.m.
A sixth-grade class from Covington helped unveil the banner for the newly sponsored race, and Cassis said plans were under way to involve families and children on race day, including creating child identifications for use in the case of an emergency.
The sponsorship keeps the 5-year-old tracks streak alive of having a title sponsor for every race since it opened in June 2000.
Weve been going after several different sponsors in the past few months, but for various reasons it just didnt work out, Cassis said. But when you get a sponsor with this kind of cause, I did a backflip.
In the event of a kidnapping, police officers can upload information on the child or kidnapper including pictures, physical descriptions and the location of the crime into the AMBER Alert Web Portal from their squad cars. Once the information is approved by the states AMBER Alert coordinator, it is disseminated to the public and relevant government agencies. The portal features sophisticated hardware and software that enables law enforcement to concentrate their broadcast messages in the vicinity of a kidnapping and expand that area as time elapses. Citizens are a crucial part of the AMBER Alert systems success, providing law enforcement with the eyes and ears they need to gather information and help save a child.
Photo by Don Ward
Officials unveil the logo of the
newly sponsored IRL race,
to be held in August.
Kentucky State Police will be able to issue an alert in five to 10 minutes through the portal, approximately 30 minutes quicker than the current system. Nearly 75 percent of homicides associated with child kidnappings occur within the first three hours of abduction. Kentucky has issued 11 alerts and successfully located 14 children ranging in age from newborn to 16 years. The state first activated the system on July 23, 2003. The most recent Kentucky activation was on April 20.
Arizona, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oregon and Washington have implemented the new AMBER Alert Web Portal, making Kentucky the seventh state to go live. The portal has already resulted in the successful recovery of a kidnapped child in Washington.
We are proud to welcome the Commonwealth of Kentucky into the AMBER Alert Portal Consortium, said Todd Sander, Chief Operating Officer of the Consortium. Parents in Kentucky can sleep better tonight knowing that this revolutionary Portal Technology can aid in the safe recovery of abducted children. We look forward to bringing that peace of mind to every parent in America.
The AMBER Alert system is fully funded by the AMBER Alert Web Portal Consortium, a public-private partnership which includes the government of Kentucky, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, non-governmental organizations and the business community. The portal counts HP, Intel and ESRI among its national contributors.
Todays launch of the most sophisticated AMBER Alert system in the nation stands as an example of what can be accomplished when the public and private sectors work together, said Granger Whitelaw, Chairman of the AMBER Development Group. From police precincts to corporate board rooms, state capitals to neighborhood watches, the message is clear: if you even think of taking a child, we will all be looking for you.
Citizens are encouraged to sign up to receive alerts at: www.AMBERalert.com.
Tickets are available for all events and can be reserved online at www.kentuckyspeedway.com or Tickets.com, by phone at 1-888-652-RACE (7223) and through Tickets.com outlets including Meijer Stores. Fans also can visit the Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 200, in Ft. Mitchell or the Fan Center located outside Turn 3 at the track.
Supplemented by track reports.