January 9, 2013
Sergeant Gregg Withers
Major Crimes Section
Missing Children Clearinghouse
During the 10-year anniversary of Oregon’s AMBER Alert program, the Oregon State Police (OSP) joins the U.S. Department of Justice, AMBER Alert Coordinators at state, regional, tribal and local levels, state Missing Children Clearinghouses and partners commemorating the nation’s seventh AMBER Alert Awareness Day on Sunday, January 13, 2013. Since the program’s inception, the AMBER Alert network has helped find and safely recover more than 595 children across the country.
In November 2002, the State of Oregon announced implementation of a statewide AMBER Alert Plan. The plan is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and local broadcasters to send an emergency alert to the public when a child has been abducted and it is believed the child’s life is in danger. In support of the national AMBER Alert Awareness Day, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed a proclamation declaring January 13, 2013 “Oregon AMBER Alert Awareness Day.” (A copy of the proclamation can be viewed at:
“Oregon’s AMBER Alert program provides Oregonians with timely and critical information to help find abducted children and reunite them with their loved ones,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “The AMBER Alert program is an excellent example of how we’re able to accomplish so much more when we work together.”
Since implementation of Oregon’s AMBER Alert Plan, there have been 18 activations helping to safely recover 20 children. Oregon’s AMBER Alert Plan was activated twice in 2012, both leading to the successful recovery of children. One of the activations was for an incident out of Eugene, and the second was an out-of-state request following the abduction of a child in Longview, Washington.
A brief look at Oregon’s AMBER Alert program shows:
* The first activation occurred March 13, 2003 out of Redmond, Oregon
* The last activation occurred September 1, 2012 out of Eugene, Oregon
* Six of the 18 activations were from out-of-state requests (4 – Washington, 2 – California)
The anniversary of the AMBER Alert program sadly remembers the abduction 17 years ago in Arlington, Texas of Amber Hagerman as she rode her bicycle and was later brutally murdered. The AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert network was created after her tragic death to provide emergency broadcast messages to the public when law enforcement determines a child has been abducted. All 50 states, territories and the District of Columbia have established AMBER Alert plans, creating the most significant child recovery network in the history of our country.
Oregon State Police is the designated law enforcement agency to which local law enforcement agencies contact to initiate an AMBER Alert activation in our state. Following an assessment of known facts and a determination that the reported incident meets AMBER Alert guidelines and the following criteria:
Law enforcement confirms a child has been abducted
The child is 17 years or younger*
The child may be in danger of serious bodily harm or death
There is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or suspect´s vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help.
The child's name and other critical data elements - including the child abduction (CA) and AMBER Alert (AA) flags will/have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.
(* The alert system is not used when a child runs away or if the incident involves a custodial situation)
Some past examples of how Oregon’s AMBER Alert program helped safety recover an abducted child since the program’s inception include:
* On April 5, 2003, Salem police responded to a reported car-jacking from a mother whose 10-month old child was still in the vehicle. After AMBER Alert was activated, a citizen spotted the car two hours later and called 911. After a short chase, the male suspect was arrested and later sentenced to 16 years in prison.
* On October 14, 2004, an AMBER Alert was activated upon a request from Mt. Angel police after an 11-year old autistic boy was taken by his mother’s boyfriend from a bus stop. About 12 hours later a tip came in to Linn County Sheriff’s Office after a boy watching the news recalled seeing the suspect’s vehicle earlier in the day off a logging road. Deputies found the suspect’s vehicle and following a standoff with the suspect who was armed with a handgun; the suspect was shot and killed. The child was recovered unharmed.
* On March 2, 2009, Oregon activated their AMBER Alert program based upon a request from California following a reported abduction of a 3-year old girl by the known adult male from her residence. Later, the suspect called the California AMBER Alert tip line to turn himself in. The girl was later found wondering along a road without clothes.
* On August 3, 2012, Washington State activated an AMBER Alert after the non-custodial father of an 8-month old boy was kidnapped in Longview from the babysitter. As Oregon was preparing to activate the AMBER Alert, an Oregon State Police sergeant spotted the suspect vehicle southbound on Interstate 5 near Wilsonville and stopped it off the freeway. The suspect and a male passenger wanted on an escape warrant were arrested. The child was recovered safe.
The public is urged to react only to AMBER Alerts from authorized sources such as: Oregon State Police or other law enforcement news releases, the Oregon media via Oregon AMBER Alert activation, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) for AMBER Alerts, or Missingkids.com / National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). Anyone may sign-up at no cost to be notified of Oregon’s AMBER Alerts through the AMBER Alert web portal and via Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/amberalert ("like" the State you are interested in receiving AMBER Alerts from). Oregon also joins the NCMEC encouraging wireless subscribers to receive AMBER Alerts as part of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program. More information about the Wireless Emergency Alerts program is available at http://ctia.it/RzEVLN.
More information about Oregon’s AMBER Alert Plan is available on the Oregon State Police website at: