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National AMBER Alert Awareness Day

Law enforcement officials and missing children search groups recognized Friday, January 13, 2012, as the third National AMBER Alert Awareness Day.

The AMBER program, begun by seven Dallas broadcasters, has safely recovered more than 550 abducted children across the country since its inception in 1997 as a direct result of the alerts that involve the public in watching for missing children.

The Amber Alert is first and foremost a broadcast message making a vast proportion of the public aware of a child abduction.  (Highway signs and bank billboards and internet postings are nice additions but the vast majority of people learn about kidnappings from radio or television.)

Texas broadcasters - as a public service and at no charge  - offer the state and local law enforcement this incredibly valuable tool to solve kidnappings and recover abducted children alive.

Amber alerts were created in 1997 by Dallas radio broadcasters seeking a way to serve their community and utilize the then new EAS equipment.

Designated law enforcement agencies provide information to the Local Primary stations in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Amarillo, Austin, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, El Paso and San Antonio..

Stations that agree to serve as “Local Primaries “ have agreed to immediately air messages about abducted children in situations that meet certain criteria. The guidelines are designed to eliminate family custody disputes and disseminate information about kidnappings within the critical first three hours to an area where public participation has the most chance of locating a missing child.

Other radio and television stations in the media markets with local plans have for the most part agreed to immediately rebroadcast Amber alerts or to broadcast the information to their audiences as quickly as possible.

There are 120 plans in operation across the country, including Texas official AMBER Alert plans.

View map here:

Cities with local Amber Plans in operation include:

  • Abilene
  • Amarillo
  • Austin
  • Beaumont
  • Corpus Christi
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • El Paso
  • Houston
  • Lubbock
  • Midland
  • Nacogdoches
  • San Antonio
  • Sherman
  • Texarkana
  • Waco
  • Wichita Falls

For abductions in areas of Texas not covered by a local plan, the Texas Department of Public Safety issues alerts that are relayed to broadcasters by the National Weather Service Station in New Braunfels.

Since the inception of the Texas plan in August of 2002, there have been 75 activations with 82 children recovered safely.

That plan is administered by the DPS Division of Emergency Management, in cooperation with Texas broadcasters.

The U.S. Weather Service agreed on an interim basis to act as an intermediary and broadcast the encoded digital messages that could be received and relayed by broadcast stations.

The success of the program is due to putting information about a kidnapping within minutes on practically every radio and television set within 200 miles spreads the word faster to more people than any other means of communication.

The program is named for Amber Hagerman, a young girl kidnapped from her home in Arlington in 1996.  She was found dead after the abduction.

For more information on AMBER Alert, please visit:, and

Or contact Sam Allen, Amber Alert Coordinator for the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management, (Office: 512-424-2208)

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