New York Amber Alerts system upgraded to send alerts to cell phones

New York officials have unveiled a new system that will allow cellphone users across the state to receive free, automatic Amber Alert notifications.

Representatives from law enforcement and government agencies and the New York State Broadcasters Association announced the new system Thursday at state police Troop G headquarters in suburban Albany.

Amber Alerts are emergency notices activated in the most serious child abduction cases. The system has been used in New York since 2002.

Officials say the new notification system will have a much larger reach than the previous one because New York is now part of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System.

The system uses the latest technology to send messages to wireless customers with emergency alert-capable phones in an area where an alert has been activated.