The mission of the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program (AATTAP) is to safely recover missing, endangered, or abducted children through the coordinated efforts of law enforcement, media, transportation, and other partners by using training and technology to enhance response capacities and capabilities and increase public participation.
AMBER Alerts are activated in the most serious child-abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of a missing child. These alerts are broadcast through radio, TV, road signs, cellphones, and other data-enabled devices.
The AMBER Alert system is being used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Indian country, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 30 other countries. As of May 1, 2019, 957 children have been safely recovered as a direct result of issuance of an AMBER Alert in the case, and in 56 of those 957 cases, directly due to the use of the Wireless Emergency Alerts program (WEA).
Most people will see AMBER Alerts directly from primary distribution and secondary distributors and do not require any additional steps. You may also choose to be notified of an AMBER Alert in the following ways: On Facebook: Visit www.facebook.com/AMBERAlert and “Like” the page to receive AMBER Alerts in your newsfeed. Facebook also automatically notifies users near the location of an AMBER Alert; and on Twitter: Follow @AMBERAlert to receive rapid AMBER Alert notifications on your Twitter feed and share the alert with your followers.
Every successful AMBER Alert plan contains clearly defined activation criteria. These activation criteria, as recommended by the US Department of Justice (https://amberalert.gov/guidelines.htm) are designed to promote a uniform, interoperable network of plans across the country and facilitated coordinated communication and sharing/dissemination of information.
Meet the Staff
Jim Walters, Program Administrator
Jason Sterling, Program Manager
Byron Fassett, Program Manager
Bonnie Ferenbach, Project Coordinator for eLearning, Website and Publications
Melissa Blasing, Project Coordinator, AMBER Alert in Indian Country
Derek VanLuchene, Project Coordinator, Child Abduction Response Teams (CART)
Jill Nysse, Project Specialist
Mishelle Bowen, Administrative Assistant IV
Yesenia Leon-Baron, AATTAP Region 1 Liaison
Gus Paidousis, AATTAP Region 2 Liaison
Janell Rasmussen, AATTAP Region 3 Liaison
Josefina Sabori, AATTAP Region 4 Liaison
Carri Gordon, AATTAP Region 5 Liaison
The History of the AMBER Alert Initiative
The AMBER Alert System began in Dallas-Fort Worth when broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. The acronym was created as a legacy to 9- year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and then brutally murdered. Other states and communities began setting up their own AMBER Alert plans as the idea was adopted across the Nation.
From 1996 through 2001, the progress on developing and implementing AMBER plans throughout the country was slow to develop; at the end of 2001, only four states had statewide AMBER plans.
In 2002, the first ever White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children. AMBER Alert became nationally focused. In conjunction with the conference, the President requested that the U.S. Attorney General appoint the first National AMBER Alert Coordinator. Deborah J. Daniels, Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs was appointed the first National AMBER Alert Coordinator.