What is AMBER Alert?
AMBER = America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response
The AMBER Alert is a voluntary cooperative effort between broadcasters and law enforcement to enlist the aid of the public to serve as law enforcement's "eyes and ears" in the case of a stranger abducted child.
How did AMBER Alert get its name?
The original AMBER Plan was created in 1997 as a legacy to
9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was kidnapped and brutally murdered while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas. The tragedy shocked and outraged the community. Local broadcasters teamed with local law enforcement agencies in northern Texas and developed an early warning system to help find abducted children.
Does North Carolina have an AMBER Alert system?
Yes. On June 12, 2003, Governor Michael F. Easley signed the AMBER Alert bill into law. This law builds upon the success of the North Carolina Child Laert Notification System, the forerunner of the NC AMBER Alert System.
How does the system work?
When a local law enforcement agency wants an AMBER Alert activated, they must:
1. Ensure activation criteria have been met
2. Enter case into North Carolina Criminal Information Center
3. Contact the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons at
1-800-522-5437 and request activation
4. Contact National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at
1-800-THE-LOST or 1800-843-4578
5. Establish 24 hour manned telephone lines
6. Continue investigation
7. Keep Center informed of case developments
The NC Center for Missing Persons:
- Ensures case meets activation criteria
- Directs activation of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), the same system used to provide weather and civil emergency alerts
- Requests Department of Transportation activate Dynamic Message Signs located over highways
throughout NC and flash AMBER Alert information - if needed
What are the activation criteria?
- Child is 17 years of age or younger
- Child is believed to have been abducted OR to be in danger of injury or death
- Abduction is not known or suspected to be by a parent of the child unless the child's life is
suspected to be in danger
- Child is not believed to be a runaway or voluntarily missing
- Abduction has been reported to and investigated by a law enforcement agency
An AMBER Alert will be activated ONLY if sufficient information is available that could assist in locating the child, suspect and/or suspect's vehicle.
ONLY the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons can activate an AMBER Alert.
ONLY a law enforcement agency can request activation of an AMBER Alert.
Stranger abducted children are rare occurrances in North Carolina. AMBER Alerts will be activated infrequently.
Overuse of the system is akin to "crying wolf" and could cause AMBER Alerts to be ignored.