What is an Amber Alert?
AMBER Alert system is a voluntary partnership between police agencies and broadcasters to send out an emergency alert to the public when a child or vulnerable adult has been abducted and is believed to be in imminent danger. An Amber Alert may also be issued for a person who has gone missing due to Alzheimers or dementia.
Why Was AMBER Alert Created?
In 1996, nine-year-old Amber Hagerman was kidnapped and brutally murdered in Arlington, Texas. Amber’s tragic death had such a profound impact on the community, that it prompted regional law enforcement agencies and Dallas/Fort Worth Association of Radio Managers (ARMS) to develop an innovative emergency alert plan to help recover abducted children. They named it the AMBER Plan, and it has since been embraced by communities across North America.
How Does AMBER Alert Work?
An AMBER Alert is initiated when law enforcement has been notified of an abduction where a child or vulnerable adult is believed to be at risk of serious bodily harm or death. The AMBER Alert provides the public with immediate and up-to-date information about the abduction via widespread media broadcasts and solicits the public’s help in the swift and safe return of the abducted person.
When an AMBER Alert is sent out, radio and television stations immediately interrupt programming to broadcast information about the abduction, the abductor and the abducted.
What Are The Criteria For Sending Out An AMBER Alert?
- The missing person is under 18 years of age or is an individual with a proven mental or physical disability
- An investigation has confirmed either abduction by a stranger or abduction (parental or non-parental) where circumstances lead police to believe that an abducted person is in danger of serious bodily harm or death
- There is enough descriptive information about the abducted person or the apprehension of the suspect
- The alert can be issued in a time frame that would provide a reasonable expectation that the abducted person could be returned or the abductor could be apprehended prior to fleeing
What Are The AMBER Alert Guidelines?
- May be activated by law enforcement agencies
- Is intended only for the most serious, time-critical abduction cases
- Not intended for cases involving runaways or parental abductions, except in life threatening situations
How Can I Help?
- The public plays a vital role in the success of AMBER Alert. The system relies on the public to help locate abducted persons before it’s too late
- If you witness an abduction, contact your local law enforcement agency or call 911 immediately. Provide information on the location of the abduction and a description of the victim, suspect and/or vehicle involved
- If you hear an AMBER Alert broadcast, watch for the abducted person, suspect and/or vehicle described in the alert. Immediately report any sightings by calling 911 or 1-877-SOAMBER
- Do not call 911 to request information about the abduction
Saskatchewan is the only province in Canada that will issue an Amber Alert for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia.