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AMBER Alert Activations Are More Than Just Pushing A Button: A Look Into What OSP Does
January 10, 2014



AMBER Alert activations involve more than just pushing a button or flipping a switch. A lot of work goes on prior to and during the activation to effectively notify our communities that a confirmed child abduction has occurred, and that there is important information they can be aware of to help safely locate the child and suspect.
 
In Oregon, once a law enforcement agency investigation confirms a child abduction has occurred, the lead agency contacts the OSP AMBER Alert Coordinator at the Northern Command Center to review the investigative facts and verify the abduction meets AMBER Alert activation criteria. 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/en/alerts/state/?type=oregon).  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 coordinator. (More information about WEA and AMBER Alerts is available at http://www.missingkids.com/amber/wea.
 
* 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. Updates will also be made to the AMBER Alert website and via social media (OSP on Twitter @ORStatePolice) to keep the public informed while the search for the child and suspect occurs.
 
 Additional assistance that OSP may provide includes:
 
* Deploying Criminal Investigations Division detective(s) and analyst to assist lead agency.
 
* 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 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.
 
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. Another resource of 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:
 
Photos and information about 43 of Oregon’s missing children are available on the OSP Missing Children Clearinghouse website at http://www.oregon.gov/osp/MCC/Pages/Missing_Alpha_Order.aspx.
 
More information about AMBER Alerts is available at www.amberalert.gov.

 

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