AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) joins the nation in observing National AMBER Alert Awareness Day today – Tuesday, Jan. 13. AMBER stands for “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response,” and was named for of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1996 in Arlington, Texas.
In the wake of Amber Hagerman’s death, law enforcement and media representatives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area created the first AMBER Alert program, which served as a model nationwide for alerting the public about abducted children. Every U.S. state has an AMBER Alert program, along with several other countries. This year marks the 19th anniversary of Amber Hagerman’s abduction, which the U.S. Department of Justice designated as National AMBER Alert Awareness Day.
The Texas AMBER Alert Program was established by Gov. Rick Perry in 2002, complementing existing local AMBER Alert programs. DPS manages the statewide program and provides law enforcement a mechanism for rapid notification of the media and the public in these serious child abduction cases. Visit http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/documents/amberAlertProc.pdf to view the Governor’s proclamation.
Activation of the Texas AMBER Alert Network involves resources from the following groups:
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- Office of the Governor
- National Weather Service
- Texas Department of Transportation
- Local, state and federal law enforcement
- Texas Association of Broadcasters
- Independent Bankers Association of Texas
- Texas Lottery Commission
- The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which was added as a state partner in 2005, providing notification to the public through wireless carriers, content providers and major retailers.
If your child is missing:
- Immediately call your local law enforcement agency to file a missing persons report.
- Be prepared to provide law enforcement with the most recent photo of the child, a detailed description of what the child was wearing and any other information that could help identify the child or the abductor, such as vehicle and license plate information.
DPS currently offers an email notification system that distributes AMBER Alert information at no cost to members of law enforcement, media and the public. Anyone wishing to become a subscriber can register online with a valid email address and zip code at http://www.dps.texas.gov/DEM/AMBERALERT/AMBERREGISTER.ASPX.
For more information on the Texas AMBER Alert Program, visit http://www.dps.texas.gov/dem/Operations/Alerts/index.htm.