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What does law enforcement need to issue an Amber Alert?

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 9:40 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Emergency Missing Child, Missing and Endangered Person, Blue, and Amber are all different alerts The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency can issue to the public.

Corporal Jeremy Burkett with ALEA says each is equally important, but they all have very different roles. A blue alert will involve a law enforcement officer, a missing and endangered person alert will involve someone with a disability, and an emergency missing child is someone under 18 that has gone missing.

“All of them are very serious. All of them are very important, but there are different alerts for different things,” says Burkett.

After law enforcement receives a complaint, information must be gathered and confirmed before an alert can be put out. For an Amber Alert to be issued there must be enough physical evidence that a person under 18 was abducted.

“Where were they abducted from? If possible, do we have a description of who abducted them? What direction of travel they were in,” says Burkett.

Law enforcement will gather as much information as possible to inform the public so everyone knows exactly who or what they need to look for.

“You need additional information so that you can help us safely return that child to their family,” says Burkett.

Mike Swafford with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office says there has to be strict regulation on what qualifies for an AMBER alert so the process is guarded. He says the process is not easy, but it works.

“The process is labor-some but very valuable,” says Swafford.

The process starts with local law enforcement and then ALEA will have to validate the information and send the alert.

“In law enforcement, it is a partnership, it truly is. We are going to come together, especially if it is something like this, and try to provide as much information to everybody as we can.”

ALEA also just created a new alert system called CodeERED. It allows state authorities to quickly notify the public of missing people. Alerts can be received through text, email, or social media.

Anyone that would like to sign up for the alerts can do so online, or by texting “ALalerts” to 99411.

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