Amber Alert

What is an Amber alert?

Amber alert is an alert system established in the United States – and since adopted in Canada – to publicize child abductions. It uses electronic highway signs and designated local broadcasters to announce the missing child's name and description, and the description of any vehicle or person who is suspected to be involved in the abduction. It's named after a Texas girl, Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and murdered near Dallas. The umbrella agency that oversees Amber alert has created the acronym for "America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response."

How does Amber alert work?

Local police prepare an alert containing information such as the child's and/or abductor's description and other relevant information. A special press release is sent to television and radio stations designated as "Amber Alert Broadcasters.” Getting the alert on the air immediately is a priority, as time is a factor in safe child rescues. Radio stations interrupt programming; TV stations may show a text "crawl" along the bottom of the screen. Roadside traffic pixel signs may show text or photos, depending on the technology available in the region.

Is Amber alert a national program?

Every province has jurisdictions that have signed on to the Amber programme. However, an Amber alert issued in one region does not necessarily become a national Missing Persons bulletin. If there is reason to suspect the child is in danger and maybe travelling across the country, RCMP may issue a national warrant. Usually, however, an Amber alert is restricted to a local area.

What is CBC's involvement in Amber alerts?

The CBC participates fully in notifying the public of an Amber alert. Each CBC location works actively with their local police force to ensure the timely delivery and accuracy of each alert. The CBC has also established a national protocol to ensure that Amber alert information can be received and delivered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Read more from CBC News about Amber alerts.

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