When a child is reported missing, one would believe the issuance of an Amber Alert would be activated automatically. Many would be surprised to learn an Amber Alert is issued, only if the child missing meets certain criteria.
In the United States, each state have its own Amber Alert Plan in place. It appears that a general criteria is in place nationwide, however, what if your child is missing and they don’t meet the defined criteria to issue an Amber Alert in your state? Let’s examine some of the recommended guidelines for issuing an Amber Alert according to the Department of Justice Official Website.
- Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place.
- The child is at risk of serious injury or death.
- There is sufficient descriptive information of child, captor, or captor’s vehicle to issue an alert.
- The child must be 17-years-old or younger.
Upon informing various family members of a missing child of these issues, theses are some of the complaints that were expressed. Many seem to believe the Amber Alert System should be activated upon the initial call to their local police department. Other parent(s) stated, ” My child was listed as missing and not classified as kidnapped until time was wasted.”
There appears to be an issue with the age requirements in some cases. Parents feel that some law enforcement agencies failed to classify their child as missing, not abducted, because of their age. Another complaint about the Amber Alert is that law enforcement agencies will not issue an Amber Alert if their son or daughter have runaway previously.
Most people would agree the Amber Alert is one of the best and most effective tools used in successfully locating missing children. While there are many that desire to have an Amber Alert issued in all instances, one must consider one important factor. If an Amber Alert System is issued for every child reported missing, eventually people will become desensitized to the alerts.
The Amber Alert System has successfully recovered more than 500 abducted children. The success of the Amber Alert System will continue to save lives, only if we in our communities do our part. Overall, driving down a highway or getting an alert via radio, internet, or by phone texts, the Amber Alert System will continue to do what it was designed to do best, that is to locate, recover, and return (a) missing child(ren). Most states currently issue an Amber Alert System for Seniors and or persons with mental disorders, known as the Silver Alert.
More information about all missing persons alert are listed on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website.