Photo:Doug LeBlanc, his wife Becky and their son David on Father’s Day.
Photo: Draven Graham
Brighton Council are one of the first councils in Ontario to vote in favour of changing the Amber Alert System in honour of a Lindsay boy.
Ten-year-old Draven Graham went missing from the family home on June 12. Draven was autistic and had limited verbal skills.
A search was launched, but tragically a day later police recovered the boys body from the Scugog River.
Shortly after the boy was buried a online petition was started to get the Ontario Amber Alert System to be altered.
Kat Reid who lives in Hamilton started the petition and has an 11-year-old daughter said the Draven’s tragedy could, “easily have been prevented.”
Reid didn’t know Draven’s family, but when she heard that people were fishing right near where the Lindsay boy went in the water, it could have made the difference if they had received the alert of a missing child.
“If this alert had already been created, they would have gotten a message soon after he went missing, instead of not finding out until hours later. They could have been keeping an eye out for him, or even searching for him, and may have gotten to him before it was too late. There’s a good chance they would have.”
Like many others Brighton councillor Doug LeBlanc heard about the tragedy in Lindsay and it hit home for him and his wife.
LeBlanc and his wife Becky have a 39-year-old son with special needs who resides at Christian Horizons in Port Hope.
LeBlanc said he’s spoken to many people including police officers who agreed the Amber Alert System needs to be changed.
“Why couldn’t they posted the Alert,” said LeBlanc.
Having a special needs child, LeBlanc said the message that a vulnerable person is message needs to get sent out quickly.
On Monday, June 20, 2022, Brighton Council allowed a motion by LeBlanc to be put forward.
Because time is of the essence to get the changes put through, normal procedure may have taken weeks to put it on the floor for a vote were passed quickly with the support of councillors and staff.
And in the end it passed unanimously.
The motion reads as follows
Moved by: Doug LeBlanc
Seconded by: Mark Bateman
Whereas the Ontario AMBER Alert is a warning system that quickly alerts the public of a suspected abduction of children who are in imminent danger;
Whereas the goal is to broadcast as much information about the child, the abductor and suspect vehicles as quickly as possible so the public can respond with any relevant information that might lead to the child’s safe return;
Whereas people are encouraged to share the AMBER Alert with as many people as possible. If a child or vulnerable person is abducted, spreading the information quickly is critical to their safe return;
Whereas an AMBER Alert makes the public aware to keep an eye out for the child, vulnerable person, suspect and the vehicle described in the alert. If they spot them, try to gather as many details as they can, including the specific location where they saw them, the time, the direction they were travelling in and any other identifying details that will help to locate them;Whereas an AMBER Alert gives citizens instructions to call 9-1-1 or the phone number included in the alert immediately if they have a tip or a sighting related to an AMBER Alert.
An AMBER Alert will only be activated if:
The police have confirmed that an abduction has taken place; and the victim is a child or a person of proven physical or mental disability;
There is reason to believe the victim is in danger of serious physical injury, and there is information available that, if broadcast to the public, could assist in the safe recovery of the victim.
Whereas it is essential to remember that an AMBER Alert is not always appropriate in every circumstance and that their continued effectiveness depends on ensuring that they are only used in cases that meet the above criteria;
Whereas the recent tragic death of 11-year-old Draven Graham showed that the AMBER Alert system is flawed when it comes to vulnerable children who can go missing but are not abducted;
Whereas at the time this motion was written, there have been almost 75,000 citizens who had signed a petition on Change.Org requesting that a Draven Alert be created;
And whereas it is clear that there needs to be an addition to the alert system to allow for law enforcement to send out an alert for vulnerable children who go missing under circumstances that do not involve an abduction but are at serious risk of injury or death;
Therefore be it resolved that the Municipality of Brighton and its council endorse the following;
1. That the Minster of the Solicitor General and the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, as well as the Premier’s Office, be requested to make the necessary changes to the AMBER alert system and create a new alert called the Draven Alert, which will protect vulnerable
children who have not been abducted but are at high risk of danger, injury or death and alert the public that they are missing.
2. That this motion be sent to all municipalities across Ontario and the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) for endorsement.
Speaking to LeBlanc after the motion passed he said, “it’s important we act now, because all children deserve to come home safe.”