Interview: Joseph Nasser of “Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway”
Posted on July 28, 2014 at 8:00 am
Reserve Police Officer Joseph Nasser produced Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway to help raise awareness of the Amber Alert system. It stars Tom Berenger as a man on the edge, making a dead rush for Mexico and kidnapping two young girls along the way. He is hotly pursued by police chief Martha Geiger (Torri Higginson). It will be available on DVD tomorrow. Nasser answered my questions about the film.
Can you remind us how the real-life Amber alert program got started? Amber Hagerman was kidnapped and by the time the word was out it was too late. So her mother campaigned to have news outlets broadcast an alert when a child gets kidnapped.The AMBER Alert System began in Dallas Fort Worth when broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. The acronym was created as a legacy to 9 year old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington Texas, and then brutally murdered.
How effective has it been? Up to date there have been 685 recoveries due to an Amber Alert
How have you seen it work in your profession as a reserve police officer? Yes, I watched it work for the first time ever in California when two girls where kidnapped.
How did your experiences in the field shape the story? it made me want to educate the public about what to do if there is an Amber alert. I have noticed that people are sometimes not paying attention to their surroundings and the Amber alert film teaches to be alert for the Amber alert notice and report it. Also it’s important for the relatives of the kidnapped child to stay calm and collected so that an individual can assist in the recovery of an abducted child. In the film we se that the parents are freaking out until the “Chief” calms them down.
How can we understand the motives and decisions of someone who would abduct a child well enough to find him?A child is kidnapped because there is an emotional attachment such as a non-custodial parent or relative who want custody and control of the child. That more frightening cases are when the child is abducted because of greed or for deviant desires by the kidnapper. In this scenario it’s hard to relate to these kidnappers because they are working from a abnormal state of mind. Some criminologist believe that the deviant behavior is genetic and have found that there is an “XYY” chromosome factor that is one of the common traits many criminals possess.
How did you raise the money to produce this film? I took a loan from the bank. However In order for the bank to loan the funds we needed a distributor had to be aboard. We found several foreign distributors which appeased the bank. However we wanted a USA distributor, we made this film for American viewers and we wanted America to be a bit safer by releasing the film in the USA. We reached out to Anderson Media and explained that the power of having this kind of film released would include educating Law Enforcement and the public alike, and it entertains while teaching. And now it will be released in every major retail store in the country starting this week.
How did the director work with the young actresses to make them feel safe as they were filming?He gave them hugs and assured them that they were safe. He was loving and comforting as were the producers and other cast and crew.
What do you want audiences, especially parents, to think about after they see this film? Stay calm, call the local Law Enforcement agency, get all the details of a possible abduction. The public needs to stay alert and write down anything they see that pertains to an abduction. Make note of signs and news reports and keep an eye out for the information that can lead to saving a child.