U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

AMBER Alert Best Practices

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2012
64 pages
This guide is a compilation of what AMBER Alert partners have indicated constitutes an effective and efficient program of responding to cases of child abduction.
The AMBER Alert Program is a voluntary partnership that involves law enforcement, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry. It is designed to disseminate timely, accurate information about abducted children, the suspected abductors, and the vehicle used in the commission of the crime. During an AMBER Alert, an urgent news bulletin is broadcast over the airwave and by text message, as well as on highway alert signs, so as to immediately enlist the aid of the public in finding an abducted child and taking the alleged perpetrator into custody. Participants and experts who attended a federally sponsored national AMBER Alert conference identified emerging practices that have improved the ability of law enforcement, other stakeholders, and partners in safely recovering missing and abducted children. This report provides an overview of "what works" in the context of the AMBER Alert based on what was discussed during the conference as well as the experience and knowledge gained since the inception of the first AMBER Alert plan. The chapters of this guide address the role of law enforcement agencies in the AMBER Alert system, partnerships with the media, the role of a public information officer, effective messaging strategies, the role of the AMBER Alert coordinator, and how to improve an existing AMBER Alert system through interstate networking, community awareness strategies, and training. A listing of additional resources and notes

Date Published: May 1, 2012