How Does an Amber Alert Work?

What is an Amber Alert

Thunder Bay – NEWS – The Amber Alert worked yesterday. The Alert went out in the afternoon and by early evening, Police reported that the nine month old baby had been safely located.

The Ottawa Police Service woudl like to inform the public that Maggie Knox has been located safe and sound.  We would like to thank Gatineau Police and members of the public their assistance. One person is in custody and the investigation is ongoing.

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.

Police, with the assistance of the public, were able to locate the suspect and make an arrest. That is the goal of the program.

The value of the Amber Alert System has been shown time and time again.

Those critical minutes matter, to family and to police.

Often however people wonder why some cases merit an Amber Alert and others do not.

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 or text 26237(AMBER).

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

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