The AMBER Alert program, also known as America’s Missing:
Broadcast Emergency Response Plan, is an initiative of the U.S. Department of
Justice. It is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies,
broadcasters and transportation agencies to activate an urgent bulletin in the
most serious-child abduction cases where there is enough information to make
the alert effective. Local networks cover all 50 states, the District of
Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nationally, there have been
over 650 children safety recovered because of the AMBER Alert program.
Oregon State Police (OSP) is the designated law
enforcement agency which local law enforcement agencies contact to initiate and
activate an AMBER Alert in our state based upon the following criteria:
•Law enforcement confirms a child has been abducted;
•The child is 17 years or younger (not to be used when a
child runs away);
•Law enforcement officials believe that the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death;
•There is adequate descriptive information available to believe that its dissemination to the public could help locate the child, suspect, and/or suspect's vehicle;
•The child's name and other critical data elements -
including the child abduction (CA) and AMBER Alert (AA) flags must be entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.
Growing technology has expanded the AMBER Alert program
to provide additional secondary distribution avenues broadening public
notification beyond traditional media notifications and the Emergency Alert
System (EAS), which broadcasts alerts over radio and television.
Today, an important secondary distribution avenue is
through the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) program which is also known as the
Commercial Mobile Alert System. The WEA program is operated by FEMA to
distribute notifications from authorized federal, state, local and tribal government
agencies that alert customers with capable devices of imminent threats to
safety or an emergency message. WEA messages are intended as a supplement to
the existing EAS. Additional information about the WEA program is available at http://www.missingkids.com/amber/wea.
In Oregon, once a law enforcement agency investigation
confirmed a child abduction has occurred, the lead agency contacts the OSP
Criminal Investigations Division to review the investigative facts. Upon
determination the case meets criteria for an AMBER Alert in Oregon, the
following steps are taken:
OSP enters information into the AMBER Alert web
portal so AMBER Alert details are placed on the AMBER Alert website (http://www.amberalert.com/).
The AMBER Alert information is forwarded via email and cell phone text message
to those who register on the AMBER Alert.com website, and is posted on the
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) website (www.missingkids.com).
OSP notifies Oregon Emergency Management (OEM) to
initiate broadcast of EAS message
OSP notifies Oregon Department of Transportation
for placement of information on highway variable message signs
OSP AMBER Alert Coordinator notifies NCMEC,
which redistributes the alerts, per a request by the U.S. Department of
Justice, to a network of secondary distributors that includes internet service
providers, digital billboards, and others. This notification includes
information for consideration to be sent out through the WEA program. The
decision on what goes out in WEA is made by each state’s AMBER Alert program
OSP and/or the lead law enforcement agency send
news release announcing activation and deactivation of the AMBER Alert. During
activation, update news release(s) may be sent with important information
needed to help safely recover the child.
Additional assistance that OSP may provide includes:
Deploying CID detective(s) and analyst to assist
Activation of AMBER Alert TIP line phone number
(1-866-5AMBER5 / 1-866-526-2375) and forwarding calls to lead agency.
If requested, activation of OSP Call Center with
trained call takers who will receive and forward tips to lead agency.
Throughout each year, an AMBER Alert Review Committee
meets as needed to review all requests, whether an AMBER Alert is activated or
not, for lessons learned that will help maintain the program’s integrity and
the public’s confidence.