Des Moines, IOWA — Each year the U.S. Department of Justice, AMBER Alert Coordinators at the state, regional, tribal and local levels, Missing Children Clearinghouses and AMBER Alert partners commemorate the anniversary of the AMBER Alert Program and the abduction of Amber Hagerman. On January 13, 1996, Amber was abducted while riding her bicycle and then brutally murdered. The AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert network was created after her tragic death to provide emergency broadcast messages to the public when law enforcement determines a child has been abducted. AMBER Alert broadcasts include information about the child and the abductor, including physical descriptions and information about the abductor’s vehicle, which could lead to the child’s recovery.
On Friday, January 13, 2012, the nation recognizes National AMBER Alert Awareness Day. While there are 120 plans across the country, there is one official AMBER Alert plan in Iowa. Since the inception of the Iowa plan on March 13, 2003 there have been seventeen activations. In sixteen cases, the children were successfully recovered.
The Iowa State Patrol strictly adheres to the AMBER Alert criteria, as recommended by the Department of Justice:
Law enforcement confirms a child has been abducted and entry has been made into the IOWA/NCIC Systems identifying the child as missing.
The child is under the age of 18.
Law enforcement believes the circumstances surrounding the abduction indicate that the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death.
There is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or suspect’s vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help.
Nationwide over 550 children have been recovered as a result of the Amber Alert network. This unprecedented partnership between law enforcement, alert citizens, and the news media continues to be one of the most effective tools employed to protect our children.