When do Police Issue an Amber Alert?

What is an Amber Alert

THUNDER BAY – On February 14, 2019, the Peel Regional Police issued a late night Amber Alert. For people across Ontario, their smartphones went off. It startled many people according to how they reacted on social media.

The Peel Regional Police report that they received calls to their 911 number from people who were calling to complain about receiving the Amber Alert.

Amber Alerts are not issued lightly. There are specific guidelines in place in each province that determines when police can issue an Amber Alert.

The Amber Alert came into being when the community of Arlington, Texas got together to create the AMBER (America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response) program following the 1996 kidnapping and murder of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman. Citizens wanted to prevent future abductions and increase children’s safety in their community.

Last night’s Amber Alert worked. There is a tragic ending, as the young girl was found deceased. Peel Regional Police report: Roopesh Rajkumar has been located and arrested. Riya Rajkumar has been located deceased at a residence in Brampton. Homicide and Missing Persons Bureau has taken carriage of this investigation.

It took an hour for police, with the assistance of the public, to locate the suspect and make an arrest.

Those critical minutes matter, to family and to police.

Guidelines for an AMBER Alert

Before an AMBER Alert is activated, these guidelines must be met:

  1. The law enforcement agency believes a child under 18 years of age has been abducted; and
  2. The law enforcement agency believes the child is in danger; and
  3. There is enough descriptive information about one or more of the following the child, the abductor, and/or the vehicle, which is sufficient to allow the law enforcement agency to believe that an immediate broadcast alert will help in locating the child.

How the AMBER Alert Program works

The OPP facilitate the AMBER Alert program within the province, but the program is available to all police agencies in Ontario.

If a child is reported as being abducted and all the AMBER Alert guidelines are met, the investigating police service can submit an AMBER Alert request form to the OPP.  The OPP will then activate an AMBER Alert on behalf of the investigating police agency using the information that was given.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has mandated the broadcasting industry to distribute emergency alert messages. Emergency alerts (which include AMBER Alerts) are distributed through the National Alert Aggregation & Dissemination System (NAAD system).

The NAAD system disseminates the alerts through cable and satellite companies, radio stations, over-the-air television stations, CBC and some video-on-demand services.

AMBER Alerts are also disseminated through social media as well as through SMS text messages.

How can the community assist?

If you see or hear an AMBER Alert, watch for the child, suspect, and/or vehicle described in the alert.  If you have any information regarding an AMBER Alert, immediately report it to the police by calling 911, Crime Stoppers 1 800 222-8477, or your local police.

You can sign up for AMBER Alerts through SMS text messages by visiting http://www.wirelessamber.ca or text 26237(AMBER).

You can also follow AMBER Alert Ontario Facebook and Twitter accounts.