Amber Alert



What is an AMBER Alert?

The America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert is part of the nationwide AMBER Plan and is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies and media broadcasters. The plan utilizes the Emergency Alert System and other means to quickly notify the public of an abducted/taken child. The importance of this program is what drives the continued need to develop technologies and strategic partnerships to aid in the safe recovery of our most vulnerable loved ones.

AMBER Alert Activation Criteria

In order for an AMBER Alert to be activated, the following criteria must be met (Government Code section 8594):

  1. Confirmation that an abduction has occurred or a child was taken by anyone, including, but not limited to, a custodial parent or guardian.

  2. The victim is 17 years of age or younger, or an individual with a proven mental or physical disability.

  3. The victim is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.

  4. There is information available that, if disseminated to the public, could assist in the safe recovery of the victim.

What Should the Public Do?

If you witness a child abduction, call 911 immediately to report it.  Be prepared to provide the location of the abduction, descriptions of the child and suspect, and make, model, color, and license plate number (if possible) of any vehicle involved.


The State's AMBER Alert Program is modeled after the nationwide AMBER Plan, which was developed in 1996 after nine-year old Amber Hagerman was abducted and brutally murdered near her home in Arlington, Texas. Amber's death had such an impact on her community that it prompted law enforcement agencies and the Texas Association of Radio Managers to develop an emergency alert plan to help recover abducted children. Communities throughout the country have since adopted similar plans, with the common goal of returning abducted children to safety by employing the media to enlist the public in immediate search efforts. Texas organized a system that encouraged law enforcement agencies to alert the media following a confirmed child abduction.

California introduced the AMBER Alert concept in 1999 as a regional program. In 2002, Assembly Bill 415 (Government Code section 8594) mandated that AMBER Alert plans be implemented statewide and include specific notification protocols for all communities. 

​Media Links

California Highway Patrol
1-800-TELL-CHP (1-800-835-5247)

Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit
Missing Children Hotline

1-800-222-FIND (1-800-222-3463)  

The AMBER Advocate
Missing Children Hotline
1-877-71-AMBER (1-877-712-6237)

California Department of Justice

​National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)

1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)


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