DOJ Press Release letterhead


  • TUesday, November 16, 2010
  • Office of Justice Programs (OJP)
  • Contact: Joan LaRocca
  • (202) 307-0703


The seventh annual national AMBER Alert Symposium, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (OJP), opened today in Phoenix, Arizona. The three-day training conference will include sessions highlighting expansion of the AMBER (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert system in tribal communities and along the U.S. southern border, Child Abduction Response Team (CART) updates and specialized investigative techniques in child abduction cases. Federal, state, tribal and local representatives from the United States, as well as international partners from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, will attend the conference.

To date, 525 abducted children have been brought home safely as a direct result of an AMBER Alert. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 15 tribes have AMBER Alert plans. Additionally, OJP is providing training and technical assistance to expand child recovery efforts in tribal communities.

"Keeping the AMBER Alert system vital and powerful relies on the work of many partners and supporters," said Laurie O. Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for OJP and National AMBER Alert Coordinator. "Our ongoing commitment is to improve and strengthen the AMBER Alert network to protect all children and rescue them if they are abducted or missing."

Child abduction victims and their families are a major focus at the symposium. Diena Thompson, mother of 7-year-old Somer Thompson, who was kidnapped and killed in 2009, will join other families to share experiences and offer insights on bringing abducted children home.

OJP will present awards for outstanding accomplishments in strengthening the AMBER Alert program in the following categories:

The AMBER Alert system began in 1996 when Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. The system was created in memory of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Arlington, Texas, who was abducted while riding her bicycle and later found murdered. AMBER Alerts are emergency messages broadcast when a law enforcement agency determines that a child has been abducted and is in imminent danger. For more information about the AMBER Alert program, visit

The symposium continues through Thursday, November 18, at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, 122 North Second Street, Phoenix, AZ.


The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has seven bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Community Capacity Development Office, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at