AMBER Center · Introduction & History
This site is dedicated to law enforcement, the media, and the public to heighten awareness of the AMBER Alert process. It provides detailed information concerning what the state of Washington is doing collaboratively with stakeholders in the development and ongoing enhancement of an effective AMBER Alert Plan. Through the united efforts of the media, law enforcement, state agencies, our citizens, and technology, our goal is to bring about the safe return of our nation’s abducted children.
AMBER Alert Plan History
The AMBER Alert plan is named after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Arlington, Texas. In January 1996, she was abducted while riding her bicycle and was brutally murdered. While the details of the suspect were provided to the police, there was no system to quickly inform the community about Amber’s disappearance. Through significant community effort, local media was asked to devise a plan to immediately broadcast abduction information. In remembrance of Amber, her name became the nationally recognized acronym for the AMBER Alert (America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response).
In April 2003, the state of Washington announced plans for a pilot project to test the viability of a multi-state AMBER Alert Web portal, offering a single location from which the media, law enforcement, and the public can obtain current AMBER Alerts on abducted children, regardless of the jurisdiction posting the information. The Washington State Department of Information Services (DIS), the Washington State Patrol, the state’s Emergency Management Division (EMD), the Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT), the Washington State Association of Broadcasters (WSAB), and the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC), and E2C (Engaging & Empowering Citizenship)/Earth 911 created the strategic partnership to develop the pilot project.Back to Top
How it Works
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) is the lead agency for the Washington Statewide AMBER Alert Plan. The Chief of the WSP is the State AMBER Alert Manager and has final decision-making authority over all aspects of the Statewide Plan. While the Chief of the WSP is ultimately accountable for the plan’s success, this responsibility is shared with other entities that form the AMBER Alert Advisory Committee (AAAC). The AAAC charter contains detailed information about the formulation of this committee, its background, purpose, membership, and activities. Read the AMBER Alert Advisory Committee Charter to learn more about the development of the Statewide Plan.
In addition to the Statewide Plan, many law enforcement agencies in Washington State have developed local AMBER Alert Plans. These plans have met the stringent criteria of the Statewide AMBER Alert Plan and specify local law enforcement agency procedures to investigate a child abduction case, approve AMBER Alert activations, coordinate community response, and direct the recovery of a child. In the event a law enforcement agency does not have an approved plan, they must utilize the resources of another law enforcement agency with an approved plan to activate an AMBER Alert, or the Washington State Patrol will assist them in activating an alert.
AMBER Partners and Sponsors
The AMBER Alert Web Portal was developed in partnership with multiple states as well as a broad cross section of stakeholders, such as representatives from local law enforcement, broadcast organizations, emergency managers, enhanced 9-1-1 call centers, transportation agencies, border organizations, corporations and others. It is supported through corporate sponsorships in order to cover recurring operational costs as well as to make the system available to states, law enforcement, broadcast media and the public at no cost.
The Web Portal was designed to support the individual needs of any state’s AMBER plan and process while providing a consistent national platform from which to facilitate multi-state and regional alerts. The result has been a national portal that keeps all content control at local levels and enables the very best in technology to be leveraged to help save children’s lives.
Consortium members worked together to share best practices and re-engineer their AMBER Alert business processes, in order to incorporate the AMBER Alert 911 Portal into their existing AMBER procedures. This creates an efficient, comprehensive system so that stakeholders can quickly get detailed information about an abduction, communicate efficiently and work together to save the life of an abducted child.
The Consortium is working in cooperation with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) as it makes the Portal available to states across the nation. It operates under an effective partnership framework and governance model to represent member states and sponsors regarding the operation and continual enhancement of the Portal.
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Please note that some of the documents provided on this page are available in Adobe® PDF format only and will require the Adobe® Reader in order to view or print them from your Web browser.
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