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About the AMBER Plan


State of Missouri AMBER Alert Plan
Mission

The mission of the AMBER Alert Program is to develop and coordinate the efforts of law enforcement, the media, and transportation in order to increase public participation in safely recovering abducted children through targeted education, increased communication, and effective sharing of resources.

Overview

The State of Missouri AMBER Alert Plan is based upon guidelines established by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the summer of 2001. On August 28, 2003, Section 210.1012 RSMO established a statewide program called the "Amber Alert System." The intent of the Missouri AMBER Alert is to generate a timely alert to a large number of people and to recruit the eyes and ears of these citizens to facilitate the safe return of abducted children. AMBER Alerts in Missouri are handled under the auspices of the Alert Missouri. The success of the system is dependent on the participation of commercial broadcasters, the Missouri Department of Transportation, and other volunteer alert providers. At the request of the Missouri Broadcaster's Association, the Missouri Highway Patrol became an EAS originator in order to enhance Missouri's implementation of the EAS system.

Disclaimer

The responsibility for the activation of an AMBER Alert rests solely with the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction in the case. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as a requirement for law enforcement to activate an alert, nor to infringe upon the discretion of a broadcaster concerning the broadcast of an alert.

AMBER Alert Activation Criteria

In order for an AMBER Alert to be forwarded for dissemination via the Alert Missouri program the following criteria must be met:

  • 1. Law enforcement officials have a reasonable belief that an abduction has occurred, which meets the definition in RSMo. 565.110 or 565.115.
  • 2. Law enforcement officials believe that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
  • 3. Enough descriptive information exists about the victim and the abductor for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert.
  • 4. The victim of the abduction is a child age 17 years or younger.
  • 5. The child's name and other critical data elements - including the child abduction (CA) flag - have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.

Note: Parental disputes do not apply unless a possibility of harm to the child has been determined.
Missouri AMBER Alert activation should not be requested for events not meeting the criteria listed above. Events not meeting these criteria may be addressed through local alerts, Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System and National Crime Information Center entries, assistance from national (NCMEC) and state (Missouri State Highway Patrol) entities and standard press releases.

Law Enforcement

A report must be taken and validated by a law enforcement agency. (Section 210.1012 of the RSMO provides that the person who knowingly making a false report which triggers an alert pursuant to that section is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.)

The AMBER Alert request needs to be timely. Elapsed time from the incident directly diminishes the usefulness of an alert.

Activation
  • 1. Local law enforcement personnel in the community where the abduction occurred must first determine if the AMBER Alert activation criteria are met.
  • 2. If the local agency believes the incident meets the criteria, the agency should contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop F Headquarters at 573-751-1000 and request an AMBER Alert. Troop F Communications will contact the state AMBER Alert coordinator or their designee and initiate a conference call between the local agency, Troop F Communications, and the coordinator or designee. After a brief discussion regarding the abduction and each criteria section, the coordinator or designee will make the decision if the situation rises to the level of an AMBER Alert. If the decision is made to activate the AMBER Alert system, Troop F Communications will take the abduction information over the telephone from the local agency and start the process to activate the alert.
  • 3. If not already completed, the local agency should fill out the Amber Alert Request Form (AAR-QST) in MULES. This form does two things. It creates a Missing Person Entry in NCIC and MULES as required in the National Child Search Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5779, 5780). It also puts the information onto a website that the Missouri State Highway Patrol uses to disseminate the alert to law enforcement, the media, and to the public. If the agency needs assistance filling out the AARQST form, Troop F Communications will assist the agency.
  • 4. If the local agency does not have access to the Amber Alert Request Form, a Missing Person computer entry must be initiated by the local agency as required in the National Child Search Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5779, 5780). The agency should also complete a Missouri Amber Alert Abduction Form and either email that form to troopf.radio@mshp.dps.mo.gov, or fax it to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop F Headquarters at 573-751-6814 (Phone 573-751-1000). Troop F Communications will then disseminate the alert.
Broadcast

During the first two hours after the initial broadcast of an AMBER Alert, stations are urged to give follow-up announcements at least every 15 minutes. Follow-up announcements should not, under normal circumstances, be a retransmission of the initial AMBER EAS message.

During the second two hours stations that are live on-air are urged to broadcast follow-up announcements at least once every half-hour.

After four hours the station may, at its discretion, continue to broadcast follow-up announcements once per hour for twenty hours.