Sacramento Police Department

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert

The AMBER Alert is a statewide program that allows media outlets and law enforcement communities to work together to immediately alert the public to child abductions; enlist the community's aid in locating the child, and apprehending the suspect.

AMBER Alerts can be broadcast locally to one area, to multiple counties, or statewide. All 50 states now have AMBER Alert plans in place. AMBER Alerts have been highly successful when activated properly. There are specific criteria set in place to help keep AMBER Alerts from being overused. AMBER Alerts can only be requested by the local law enforcement agencies. The local agency must respond, conduct an investigation and determine that all four of the following AMBER Alert criteria have been met:

  1. The investigating law enforcement agency confirms an abduction has occurred.
  2. The victim is 17 years of age or younger, or has a proven mental or physical disability.
  3. The victim is in imminent danger of serious injury or death.
  4. There is information available that, if provided to the public, could assist in the child's safe recovery.

NOTE: The AMBER Alert is NOT intended for cases involving runaways, missing children where there is no evidence of foul play, custody disputes that are not reasonably believed to endanger the life or physical health of a child, or missing adults unless there is a proven mental or physical disability.


AMBER Alerts are now available to cell phone users via the website. Sign up to receive AMBER Alert notifications on your handheld devices. You just might save a child's life.

  • The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is activated. The Emergency Alert System affects the radio and television stations by sending out emergency alert tones and over riding the local station programming. Often the information is broadcast on the air and also scrolled across the television screen.
  • An emergency digital information system FLASH bulletin (EDIS) is distributed to law enforcement agencies and media outlets.
  • A child abduction poster is created and distributed with the child and if possible the suspect and suspect vehicle pictures on it. The poster can be distributed via the Internet, faxing, or a special computer program called Technology to Recover Abducted Kids (TRAK).
  • Additional resources that may be utilized are the Cal-Trans changeable message signs (CMS) and the Highway Advisory Radio System (HARS).

The Sacramento Police department has specific policies and procedures in place to quickly activate the local AMBER Alert in case of a child abduction occurring within the city limits.

For more information, email the Sacramento Police Department or visit the missing children websites on our Resources for Victims of Crime.

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