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 latest tools and resources 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.
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. In 2002, Assembly Bill 415 (Government Code section 8594) was signed into law and mandated that AMBER Alert plans be implemented statewide and charged the CHP as the statewide coordinator for all AMBER Alerts.
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.
Since 2002 the AMBER Alert has been activated over 320 times, involving over 380 victims. With the public’s assistance, we have safely recovered 97% of those children. The program definitely works and its getting better every year. The drive to continue to develop new tools and resources comes from those we were not able to recover. Their story and legacy continues as a constant reminder to make the program the best it can be to benefit future children whose lives are in danger. Every member of the community can play an important role in safely recovering a child. If you witness a child abduction or have information about one that has occurred, 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. Even the smallest piece of information can be the piece that leads to a successful recovery.
This is the most common question we receive because a majority of the AMBER Alerts issued involve a parent, guardian or close family relative. AMBER Alerts are the most serious alerts we can issue involving children. For it to qualify, there must be specific evidence that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death. As difficult as it is to think a parent or guardian could commit such a terrible act, it does happen. The majority of the AMBER Alerts in California that have ended with the murder of the child have come at the hands of a parent, guardian, or close family member.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children https://www.missingkids.org
The AMBER Advocate https://www.amberadvocate.org
California Child Abduction Task Force https://cirinc.org/abduction/catf.html