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January 2013: A Look at the AMBER Alert Program

A Look at the AMBER Alert Program

On January 13th, 2013, communities across the country gathered to observe National AMBER Alert Awareness Day, recognizing the collaborative efforts of law enforcement and their communities to safely recover missing children. Since the creation of the AMBER Alert program in 1996, more than 602[1] children have been successfully recovered. This year’s commemoration also marked the inauguration of the nation’s transition to the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program, which greatly enhances the ability of law enforcement to disseminate AMBER Alert information directly to smart phone users. To learn more about AMBER Alert Awareness Day, its history, and investigative strategies and resources available to law enforcement, you may view January’s presentation, entitled “A Look at the AMBER Alert Program.”

Last month’s, newsletter briefly highlighted National AMBER Alert Awareness Day and the advancements of the WEA program. In this month’s newsletter, we continue our feature on the AMBER Alert Program by providing more information on resources available to the field as well as highlighting the AMBER Alert Awareness Day commemoration activities of a few states across the country.

To learn more about AMBER Alert Awareness Day and read last month’s newsletter, please click here.


A Look at the AMBER Alert Program Webinar

This month, MECP partnered with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program and Utah’s AMBER Alert Coordinator, Paul Murphy, to provide an overview of the AMBER Alert Program.

Mr. Murphy highlighted the history of the AMBER Alert program, resources available to law enforcement to assist with their investigations, and some important advances in the nation’s approach to missing child cases; including the combination of highly sophisticated investigative techniques, national and international collaboration, the vigilance of private citizens, and the very latest in technology to aid in the search and recovery of missing children everywhere.

To view this recorded webinar, please visit MECP’s Webinar Page.


AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program

Take a look at the 2013 AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program calendar here or at the MECP Training Center for detailed information about the wide range of training and technical assistance services available to enhance the AMBER Alert Program.


AMBER Alert Awareness Day in the News

Across the county, State AMBER Alert Coordinators commemorated AMBER Alert Awareness Day by honoring the memory of Amber Hagerman of Arlington, Texas. Several states recognized the important role of AMBER Alerts in quickly and efficiently galvanizing an entire community to help search for and safely recover a missing child.  The links below contain more information on how AMBER Alert Coordinators also used the day to bring more awareness and education to the public on prevention, including the announcement of the start of their state National Missing Children’s Day poster contests and signed proclamations recognizing the day and the establishment of the AMBER Alert Program.

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs: 17 Years of AMBER Alerts Result in More than 600 Rescued Children

Florida Department of Law Enforcement: Florida News Advisory Regarding AMBER Alert Notifications

Louisiana State Police:  Louisiana State Police recognize National AMBER Alert Awareness Day

Massachusetts State Police: Massachusetts Child AMBER Alert Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest 

North Dakota Highway Patrol: North Dakota Governor proclaims Sunday, January 13th, 2013, “AMBER Alert Awareness Day”

Ohio AMBER Alert Steering Committee: Ohio observes AMBER Alert Awareness Day

Oregon State Police, Missing Children’s Clearinghouse: Oregon Governor signs proclamation declaring January 13th, 2013, “Oregon AMBER Alert Awareness Day”

Texas Department of Public Safety: Texas Department of Public Safety recognizes National AMBER Alert Awareness Day

For more information on your state AMBER plan and activities, you may search and follow the link to your state’s webpage here.


National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) Provides Free Resources to Law Enforcement

Provided by: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The NCMEC’s Training and Outreach Division receives about 80 requests each year to speak at trainings or attend conferences, NCMEC can respond to only a small percentage of these requests. To ensure NCMEC’s training resources reach the broadest audience possible, NCMEC is in the process of producing a series of DVDs designed to showcase the free resources NCMEC has to offer law enforcement. These DVDs are designed to provide specific information to law enforcement about how NCMEC can assist them with cases of missing and sexually exploited children. All DVDs feature NCMEC staff, including many retired law enforcement officers, as well as testimonials from law-enforcement partners who work closely with NCMEC. The first DVD, NCMEC Resources for Law Enforcement, provides an introduction to NCMEC and describes its three main operational divisions: the Missing Children Division, the Case Analysis Division and the Exploited Children Division. This 17-minute DVD has proven to be an effective training tool and can be embedded easily into existing training courses.

Our second DVD, NCMEC Resources for Law Enforcement: Missing Children, delves more deeply into the specific functions of the Missing Children Division. Here NCMEC provides extensive details about the many ways our Case Management Teams, Forensic Services Unit, Team Adam consultants and Project ALERT representatives assist in collecting and managing information for missing-children cases. This DVD also provides details about how NCMEC confronts emerging issues such as missing children with special needs, and how to assist with AMBER Alerts.

The third DVD, NCMEC Resources for Law Enforcement: Case Analysis, describes the specialized work of the Case Analysis Division, which collects information about missing children and their abductors, helps locate noncompliant sex offenders and provides biographical reports about those involved in child sex trafficking including victims and pimps. Analysts also compile comprehensive research reports containing case comparisons, trends and patterns, and new data-driven prevention strategies.

Our fourth resource DVD, NCMEC Resources for Law Enforcement: Exploited Children, examines the resources of the Exploited Children Division, including details about the CyberTipline®, the Child Victim Identification Program and a wide variety of other specialized services including complex digital imaging enhancement and analysis. Analysts can research suspected online child exploitation, provide comprehensive reports to Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces or the appropriate international law enforcement agency and locate contact information for law enforcement who can testify about image confirmation and age verification for prosecutions.

NCMEC Resources for Law Enforcement and NCMEC Resources for Law Enforcement: Missing Children are now available; the third and fourth DVDs in the series will be available in the spring of 2013. The law enforcement community can obtain a copy the resource DVDs, by contacting NCMEC’s Training and Outreach Division at [email protected].


Request Training and Technical Assistance from MECP

MECP offers training and technical assistance tailored to meet the specific needs of state, local and tribal law enforcement, nonprofit organizations and other juvenile justice practitioners. If you are interested in learning how your agency or organization can receive training and technical assistance, please contact MECP.


Upcoming Events

MECP 3rd Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. Webinar Series:

MECP is excited to explore new topics as a part of its 3rd Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. webinar series. In the upcoming months, webinars will focus on the survivors of abduction and exploitation and their road to recovery.

The webinars will explore strategies for reducing the trauma to victims and their families throughout the investigation process, and promising practices in providing long-term support and care to everyone affected. Panelists for the series will include survivors of family abduction, victim advocates, law enforcement, subject matter experts on forensic interviewing, and experienced prosecutors. Stay tuned for more information regarding this series, webinar dates, and registration at MECP.

Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest

Every year, the U.S. Department of Justice announces its National Missing Children’s Day poster contest, an activity designed to raise awareness of national efforts to bring missing children home safely, while also highlighting the importance of proactive educational programs. This year, the Department aims to have all 50 states and territories participate in the contest so that it may meet its goal of ensuring that  at least one child in every state has the opportunity to learn about missing children’s issues and participate in this important initiative. We need your help in ensuring that we are able to meet this goal in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington.

There is still time to get your fifth grade class involved!  Students must submit a poster based on the theme “Bring Our Missing Children Home.”

The winner will travel to Washington, DC, to receive an award and participate in the Missing Children’s Day Ceremony on May 15th, 2013.

For more information about the contest and how you may become involved, please visit the poster contest resource page or contact MECP at 1-888-347-5610 or [email protected].


MECP’s Training Center

March 21st, 2013: National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest Deadline. Entries for the OJJDP National Poster Contest competition must be received by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Child Protection Division, by March 21st, 2013. For more information about your state’s contest deadlines, you may contact MECP at [email protected] or your state contest manager.

Advertise Your Event to MECP Newsletter Readers. To submit a request to have your event advertised through the MECP Training Center, please click here.

We Would Like to Hear From You. MECP invites you to share your stories about your organization’s contributions to the juvenile justice field. It is our goal to expand awareness about all the issues surrounding missing children and child exploitation as well as increase understanding of the impact of your work — its value for practice, policy, ongoing research, advocacy, and more importantly, for youth, families and communities. We’d also like to promote networking opportunities for organizations across the country to connect with one another and help others by sharing success stories in our monthly newsletter. To submit your success stories, please visit us online at here. Thank you for all you do to make a positive difference in our children’s lives.

For information on training and technical assistance opportunities on missing and exploited children’s issues, contact MECP at 1-888-347-5610 or [email protected]. To submit a request for training and technical assistance, please complete a training and technical assistance form.


  1. 17 Years of AMBER Alerts Result in More than 600 Rescued Children . (2013, January 11th). Retrieved from The Justice Blog: http://blogs.justice.gov/main/archives/2632