January 1996, nine year old Amber Hagerman was riding her bicycle when a neighbor heard a scream. The neighbor saw a man pull Amber off her bike, throw her into the front seat of his pickup truck, and drive away at a high speed. The neighbor called police and provided a description of the suspect and his vehicle, but couldn't recall much else. Arlington, TX police and the FBI interviewed other neighbors and searched for the suspect and vehicle. Local radio and TV stations covered the story in their regular newscasts. Four days later, Amber's body was found in a drainage ditch four miles away. Her kidnapping and murder remain unsolved.
A concerned citizen contacted a Dallas, TX radio station suggesting the idea that Dallas radio stations should repeat news bulletins about abducted children just like they do severe weather warnings. The idea was presented to the general managers of the radio stations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They agreed that such a program would provide an important public service and might help save the life of a child. The Dallas AMBER Plan was started in July 1997 to help safely recover abducted children. Although the AMBER Plan is named after Amber Hagerman, this national program is dedicated to all children nationwide who've been abducted.
April 2002, Governor Bill Owens signed into law the AMBER Alert Plan Program ( House Bill–1083 ). This bill defines an abducted child, and allows local law enforcement agencies to utilize the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in Colorado for broadcasting specific information to the public so that the citizens may assist in the search for the abducted child. The bill mandates the Colorado Bureau of Investigation be the liaison between the local law enforcement agency with the case information and the primary Emergency Alert System Broadcasters. In 2003, the original law was ammended to allow the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to activate the Colorado AMBER Alert for another state if there is credible information that the child is in or traveling to Colorado.
Once law enforcement has been notified about an abducted child, they must first determine if the case meets the AMBER Plan criteria:
If these criteria are met, they will notify the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. We will then obtain information about the abductor, the child, mode of transportation, direction of travel and abduction information. The AMBER Designee will utilize a computerized systems to facilitate the activation process. Alert information is forwarded to the primary Emergency Alert System (EAS) station to be broadcast via the EAS to Colorado media outlets. This information is also emailed to the media outlets and partnering organizations. Radio and television broadcasts will be interrupted as will the operations of many of our partners. The Colorado Department of Transportation will utilize its Variable Message Signs (VMS) on Colorado highways to display pertinent information and direct you to tune to local media for additional information. The automation of the AMBER Alert process has allowed us to increase the timeliness of information as well as protect the integrity of information.
The public plays a critical role in the success of the AMBER Alert Program. The AMBER Alert encourages the public to look for the abducted child or suspect. You become the eyes and ears of law enforcement. If you witness a child abduction, contact your local law enforcement agency or dial 911 immediately! Provide information on the location of the abduction and a description of the victim, the suspect and/or any vehicle involved (to include license plate information if possible). If you hear an AMBER Alert, watch for the child, suspect and vehicle described in the alert. Immediately report any sightings by calling 911 or the telephone number included with the alert.
Once the Colorado Bureau of Investigation receives confirmation from the requesting agency that the child has been recovered, or after 24 hours (case by case) the Alert may be removed. CBI will provide limited recovery information at the time of cancellation, requests for additional information will be forwarded to the requesting agency.
On April 30, 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act of 2003 into law.
Building on the steps already taken by the Bush Administration to support AMBER Alert programs, this Act codified the national coordination of state and local AMBER Alert programs, including the development of guidance for issuance and dissemination of AMBER Alerts and the appointment of a national AMBER Alert Coordinator.
The National AMBER Alert coordinator is responsible for assisting state and local officials with developing and enhancing AMBER plans, and promoting statewide and regional coordination among plans. The AMBER Alert coordinator is tasked to:
A person or agency that supports the AMBER Alert Plan in a primary role. A primary role is defined as direct dissemination of alert information, law enforcement training, and education to the public at large.
A person or agency that supports the AMBER Alert Plan in an ancillary role.
If you would like additional information or have questions pertaining to the Colorado AMBER Alert Plan please contact Kristina Bomba at 303-239-4251 or via email: Kristina.Bomba@state.co.us
If you have information in regards to a case posted on the Web Site, please contact the originating agency.