Amber Alert Criteria

By: Pat Thomas Email
By: Pat Thomas Email

RENO, NV - Whenever there's a report of a child who's missing, people wonder about AMBER Alerts... why one for THIS boy, but not one for THAT girl?

There's a very specific list of criteria settled upon by the Nevada Broadcasters Association and police agencies to make sure everything is even-keeled.

First off, there must be a confirmed abduction. There has to be solid evidence that the child was actually kidnapped... not simply lost wandering around the neighborhood, or a runaway.

There also needs to be evidence that the child is in danger. So, for instance, if it's a parental abduction in a custody dispute, but police don't think the parent will harm the child... no alert.

There also need to be good pictures or good enough descriptions that police believe the public can use them to help find the missing child or kidnapper.

An AMBER alert can only be activated by the police agency investigating the disappearance... so, not a parent or a judge or a TV or radio station. But a legal guardian is asked to sign a form agreeing to the activation.

Finally, AMBER alerts are only for people under 18... unless a person is older but has a mental capacity less than 18, and a doctor has to confirm that.

Another thing to keep in mind... criteria are different in each state, so an AMBER alert that's issued in Nevada may not be accepted in another state.


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