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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Amber Alert Criteria...

Jamie Rose Bolin's horrific death has overshadowed this Easter week-end.

I wanted some answers to a few questions about the Amber Alert criteria.

I found what I was looking for on the U.S. Department of Justice's Amber Alert "Frequently Asked Questions" page.

What are the criteria for issuing AMBER Alerts?

Each state AMBER Alert plan has its own criteria for issuing AMBER Alerts. The PROTECT Act, passed in 2003, which established the role of AMBER Alert Coordinator within the Department of Justice, calls for the Department of Justice to issue minimum standards or guidelines for AMBER Alerts that states can adopt voluntarily. The Department's Guidance on Criteria for Issuing AMBER Alerts follows:

-Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place

-The child is at risk of serious injury or death

-There is sufficient descriptive information of child, captor or captor's vehicle to issue an Alert

-The child must be 17-years-old or younger

-It is recommended that immediate entry of AMBER Alert data be entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center. Text information describing the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the child should be entered, and the case flagged as Child Abduction.

Most state's guidelines adhere closely to the DOJ's recommended guidelines.

Can AMBER Alerts be issued across state and jurisdictional lines?

Absolutely. Many states have formal memorandums of understanding with other states and there are currently 27 regional plans. If law enforcement has reason to believe that the child has been taken across state lines, the AMBER state coordinator will ask that state to issue an alert. This happened when a boy from a Chicago suburb was abducted. Law enforcement had reason to believe the child was in Indiana and then taken to California. In both instances Indiana and California issued an alert at Illinois= request. The child was recovered in California. Many states have informal agreements with other states to issue AMBER Alerts upon request.

Are AMBER Alerts issued for all missing children?

AMBER Alerts are issued for abducted children when the situation meets the AMBER Alert criteria. Some children wander away in a crowded grocery store, others might run off after a heated argument. When a child is missing, law enforcement can act swiftly to help recover the child, by developing search and rescue teams or by bringing dogs to the scene to track the scent for example. AMBER Alert is only one tool that law enforcement can use to find abducted children. AMBER Alerts should be reserved for those cases that meet the AMBER criteria. Overuse of AMBER Alert could result in the public becoming desensitized to Alerts when they are issued.

Here is the "Guidance for Criteria for Issuing AMBER Alerts" from the National AMBER Alert Coordinator.

Shelly posted a poignant comment:

"When I was ten years old, my best friend's name was Dawn Michelle Stanley. She disappeared and was missing for 2 weeks. The town (Lubbock, TX) searched feverishly only to have her turn up wrapped in blankets but otherwise naked in a crawlspace under her house where her attacker (her mother's boyfriend) left her after he raped and then strangled her.

...My question is: who speaks for Michelle? No one, as far as I can tell, besides me and possibly her mother and sister even seem to remember this beautiful, amazing person...

Who does speak for Michelle...

and the countless other children who have horrific and tragic ends to their young lives.

I can only hope that I do.

Albeit, in some small way.


Sex Offenders: Your Neighbors and School Volunteers

Still Asking Questions...

Amber Alert... Cancelled.


Blogger Sue said...

TJ. My thoughts are with the family and friends of Jamie Rose Bolin. How very very sad for them and others who are also suffering the loss of their child whose lives have come to such a sudden and devastating end.

April 17, 2006 12:41 AM  
Blogger Dreaming again said...


April 17, 2006 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over the years I've told that story many times and never felt that Michelle's story was being told, nor that the other children whose lives are cut short too soon had a voice.

I'm working on a website where their voices can be heard but bear with me.. it's a little rough right now. (you can browse on over to my blog where i'm going to post a link) Don't want to self-promote in someone's comment box.

April 17, 2006 6:49 PM  
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