How does the AMBER plan work?
Once law enforcement has been notified about an abducted child, they must first determine if the case meets the AMBER Plan’s criteria for triggering an alert. Each program establishes its own AMBER Plan criteria; however, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children suggests three criteria that should be met before an Alert is activated.
- law enforcement confirms a child (17 or younger) has been abducted
- law enforcement believes the circumstances surrounding the abduction indicate that the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death
- there is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or suspect’s vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help
If these criteria are met, alert information must be put together for public distribution. This information can include descriptions and pictures of the missing child, the suspected abductor, a suspected vehicle, and any other information available and valuable to identifying the child and suspect. The information is then faxed to radio stations designated as primary stations under the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The primary stations send the same information to area radio and television stations and cable systems via the EAS, and it is immediately broadcast by participating stations to millions of listeners. Radio stations interrupt programming to announce the Alert, and television stations and cable systems run a “crawl” on the screen along with a picture of the child.
The state of Wisconsin will operate http://www.amberalertwisconsin.org to provide updates on each alert.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is located here.