AMBER Alert

Local community reaction to the brutal kidnapping and death of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Arlington, TX (1996), prompted local media and law enforcement to create the nation’s first AMBER Alert program in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area. AMBER Alerts inform the public of serious child abductions, in an effort to promote tips and leads to law enforcement. In memory of the tragic death of Amber Hagerman, the letters of her name can be seen within the title of the program, America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER).

In 2002, Governor Rick Perry created the state’s AMBER Alert network per Executive Order RP-16, later codified through legislation in 2003. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) was given legislative authority to coordinate the state’s AMBER Alert network, which served as the role model for the subsequent Silver, Blue, and Endangered Missing Persons alert programs.

The below represents AMBER Alert criteria for the state’s network:

  • Is this child 17 years of age or younger, whose whereabouts are unknown, and whose disappearance law enforcement has determined to be unwilling which poses a credible threat to the child’s safety and health; and if abducted by a parent or legal guardian, was the abduction in the course of an attempted murder or murder?
    OR
    Is this child 13 years of age or younger, who was taken (willingly or unwillingly) without permission from the care and custody of a parent or legal guardian by:
    • someone unrelated and more than three years older,
      or
    • another parent or legal guardian who attempted or committed murder at the time of the abduction?
  • Is this child in immediate danger of sexual assault, death or serious bodily injury?
  • Has a preliminary investigation verified the abduction and eliminated alternative explanations for the child’s disappearance?
  • Is sufficient information available to disseminate to the public to help locate the child, a suspect, or the vehicle used in the abduction?

AMBER Alert - Law Enforcement Resources:

AMBER Alert - Public Resources: