The success of an Amber Alert is often measured by how quickly and timely a public alert can be issued by the investigating agency. Research has shown that when citizens are aware that a reliable mechanism exists to help locate abducted children, and when they view their role as both worthy and effective, they willingly serve as thousands of eyes and ears on behalf of law enforcement (Burns and Crawford, 1999; Zgoba, 2004; Rothe & Muzzatti, 2004).
We often receive requests from parents to issue Amber Alerts for their children, but there are very specific requirements that need to be met. The following five questions must be answered “Yes” to qualify for Amber Alert Activation, RsMo:565.110 or 565.115:
- Is the child 17 years of age or younger?
- There has been an abduction.
- There are sufficient details to make a public alert useful.
- There has been a credible threat of serious harm or death to the victim.
- Parental disputes do not apply unless a possibility of harm to the child has been determined.
CPD will normally put missing person information out on social media, even if it does not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert.