The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will join the country in observing National AMBER Alert Awareness Day on Saturday, Jan. 13, in remembrance of the 1996 abduction and subsequent murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman in Arlington, Texas. AMBER stands for “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.”
Additionally, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared January 13 as AMBER Alert Awareness Day in Texas.
“The state’s AMBER Alert program is an important tool to engage the public in supporting law enforcement efforts to locate and bring home missing children,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “The vigilance and efforts of law enforcement, our partner agencies, and the people of Texas are vital in protecting our most vulnerable population – our children. We thank our public and private sector partners and the media for helping distribute this critical information.”
In response to Amber Hagerman’s death, law enforcement and media representatives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area created the first AMBER Alert program, which served as a model nationwide for alerting the public about abducted children. All 50 U.S. states and several other countries have an AMBER Alert program. The state program supplements existing regional alerting networks, autonomous from the state’s network, which consist of a group of organized resources contained within multiple counties.
Established in 2002, the statewide program managed by DPS provides law enforcement a mechanism for rapid notification of the media and the public in these serious child abduction cases when certain statutory criteria are met.
Since 2002 through the end of 2017, 179 children have been safely recovered during AMBER Alerts issued by DPS. Activation of the Texas AMBER Alert Network involves resources from the following groups:
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- Office of the Governor
- National Weather Service
- Texas Department of Transportation
- Local, state and federal law enforcement
- Texas Association of Broadcasters
- Independent Bankers Association of Texas
- Texas Lottery Commission
- The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which was added as a state partner in 2005, providing notification to the public through wireless carriers, content providers and major retailers.
If your child is missing:
- Immediately call your local law enforcement agency to file a missing persons report.
- Be prepared to provide law enforcement with the most recent photo of the child, a detailed description of what the child was wearing and any other information that could help identify the child or the abductor, such as vehicle and license plate information.
- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children also offers an emergency-response reference guide for families here:http://www.missingkids.com/content/dam/ncmec/missingkids/downloads/NC198.pdf.
DPS currently offers an email notification system that distributes AMBER Alert information at no cost to members of law enforcement, media and the public. Anyone wishing to become a subscriber can register online with a valid email address and zip code athttps://txsubscribealerts.dps.texas.gov/.
Follow @TX_Alerts to receive AMBER Alert information statewide, issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
For more information on the Texas AMBER Alert Program, including active alerts, visit http://www.dps.texas.gov/dem/Operations/Alerts/index.htm.