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January 13, 2012: National AMBER Alert Awareness Day
01/12/2012
Sheriff Tim Evinger
Klamath County Sheriff's Office
Co-Chair / Oregon AMBER Alert Review Committee
(541) 708-1765
tevinger@co.klamath.or.us
 
Sergeant Gregg Withers
Oregon State Police
Major Crimes Section
(503) 934-0163
gregg.withers@state.or.us

On Friday, January 13, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice, AMBER Alert Coordinators at state, regional, tribal and local levels, state Missing Children Clearinghouses and AMBER Alert partners commemorate the anniversary of the AMBER Alert Program and the somber remembrance of the abduction of Amber Hagerman. This is the nation's sixth AMBER Alert Awareness Day. Since the program’s inception, the AMBER Alert network has helped to find and safely recover over 550 children across the country.
 
Sixteen years ago, Amber was abducted while riding her bicycle and brutally murdered in Arlington, Texas. 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. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, all 50 states, territories and the District of Columbia have established AMBER Alert Plans and over 70 regional, local and tribal plans together create the most significant child recovery network in the history of the our country.
 
In November 2002, the State of Oregon announced implementation of a statewide AMBER Alert Plan. This 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.
 
Since implementation of Oregon’s AMBER Alert Plan there have been 16 activations and the safe recovery of eighteen children. Oregon’s last AMBER Alert activations occurred March 1, 2011 at the request of Chehalis, Washington Police Department for a child forcibly taken from his mother at a local women’s shelter. The child and suspect, the biological father, were later located in Washington State.
 
Oregon's AMBER Alert Plan Criteria are:
 

1. Law enforcement confirms a child has been abducted (*)
2. The child is 17 years or younger
3. The child may be in danger of serious bodily harm or death
4. There is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or suspect's vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help.
5. 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.

 
(* This alert system is not to be used when a child runs away or involves a custodial situation.)

 
Oregon State Police is the designated law enforcement agency which local law enforcement agencies contact to initiate and activate an AMBER Alert in our state. When all the AMBER guidelines and criteria have been met, the AMBER Alert Plan is activated using the AMBER Web Portal. Oregon's AMBER Alert plan sends out alerts through the Emergency Alert System via radio and television, highway advisory signs, email and to wireless subscribers who opt to receive the text messages on their wireless devices. One year ago, Facebook users could also start signing up to receive AMBER Alert bulletins for their state sent through a Facebook "News Feed" feature.
 
While technology is one of the program’s greatest assets, it can also be a hindrance. In Oregon, and nationwide, the "AMBER Alert" name has been the subject of various hoax texts and emails. A well-intentioned public often forwards misguided, phony, unconfirmed or outdates texts, emails and/or messages via social networks which refer to AMBER Alerts. Many of these so-called AMBER Alerts that circulate by text message and e-mail involve cases that had already been resolved or were outright hoaxes.
 
We strongly urge the public to react only to AMBER Alerts from authorized sources such as: Oregon State Police news releases, the Oregon media via the Oregon State Police, Wireless AMBER Alerts, or Missingkids.com / National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (N.C.M.E.C.). Anyone may sign-up at no cost to be notified of Oregon's AMBER Alerts through the AMBER Alert Web Portal. Oregon also joins the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children encouraging all wireless subscribers to sign up for Wireless AMBER Alerts. More information about Wireless AMBER Alerts is available at:
http://www.amberalert.gov/wireless.htm.
 
Information about the AMBER Alert Plan in Oregon is available at the Oregon State Police web site at: http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/AMBERALERT/index.shtml.
 
More information about Amber Alert's is available at: www.amberalert.gov.
 
Link to news release from U.S. Department of Justice regarding "2012 National AMBER Alert Awareness Day" information:
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2012-01/1002/50667/usdoj.amber.observance.pdf