The Amber Alert Plan is a critical missing child response program that utilizes resources of law enforcement and media to notify the public when children are kidnapped. The process uses the Emergency Alert System to inform the public. Ohio has several local, regional, and statewide programs. The ultimate goal is to save the child's life.
The Amber Alert originated in Texas in memory of Amber Hagerman, who was abducted and murdered.
Law enforcement and the media worked together to establish activation criteria. The criteria were established so the plan would only be used in appropriate cases. People must understand the time constraints law enforcement encounter when a child is reported missing. Therefore, for the plan to be activated, the following criteria must be met:
-An abducted child must be under 18 years of age.
-The abduction poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death to a child.
-A law enforcement agency determines that the child is not a runaway and has not been abducted as a result of a child custody dispute, unless the dispute poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death to the child.
-There is sufficient descriptive information about the child, the abductor, and the circumstances surrounding the abduction to indicate that activation of the alert will help locate the child.
The plan is limited to "abducted" children, so it excludes children believed to be runaways or throwaways from home.
By swiftly alerting the public of an abduction, more people can assist in search efforts for the child. People should not take police action, but rather assist police by reporting sightings of the child, perpetrator, or other associated information.
Anyone with information about an abduction should immediately notify the police by calling your local law enforcement agency, 911, or 1-877-AMBEROH.
Copyright 2013 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.