How Amber Alerts Work in Arkansas

Amber Alerts are crucial tools for keeping children safe in the state and require a lot of communication between departments. But how do alerts work?

SMALL ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Orange Alert Plan is something we hear about all the time, but how exactly does it work?

“Once we receive a call that there is a missing child, we try to get the age of the child and get that information to determine if they are under 18,” said Kristin Knox, communications specialist for the Pulaski County Sheriff. Department.

According to Knox, this search for information is the starting point of the Amber Alert process.

Created in 1996, the Amber Alert System acts as a tool, using resources such as digital notice boards and push notifications to your phone to alert you when a child has been abducted.

With the tools available, a big question that tends to arise is how much time must pass before the public can be notified?

Knox said it all depends on the information investigators have at the time of writing the report.

“We get their statement and try to create a timeline of the disappearance to see what exactly is going on to figure out if we can get like a car, or the suspects, or a license plate. Anything that might help us better find the child,” Knox said.

At this point, local police departments forward this information to the Arkansas State Police (ASP) so that they can activate the alert in the event of a missing child or abduction.

“In very general terms, child abduction is the unauthorized removal of a child from a person with custody by a person without custody. The removal may be effected by force, seduction, luring, fraud or other means.”

According to Arkansas State Police websiteeach situation has a minimum requirement that must be met before the alert can be considered.

Each of the requirements goes as follows:

  • Law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe that an actual removal has occurred.
  • Law enforcement believes the child is in imminent danger serious bodily injury or death.
  • There is enough descriptive information about victim and abduction law enforcement to issue an AMBER ALERT to assist in the child’s recovery.
  • The abducted child is under 18.
  • The child’s name and other critical data elements, including the child abduction flag, have been entered the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

Once an Amber Alert has been authorized, authorities release information about the missing child, associated suspects and means of transportation.

The authorities then work with the Arkansas Department of Transportation provide information on suspicious vehicles and license plates which can be displayed on the dynamic message signs (DMS) managed by ARDOT.

The ASP also provides information that can be broadcast in a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) as a text message to mobile carriers, alerting people on their phones to the threat.

It’s a close-knit sense of communication, which helps law enforcement agencies like the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.

“We are authorized to receive these alerts to distribute via social media, again to get help from citizens in the hope that someone will see this alert,” Knox said.

Authorities said the Amber Alert system is not designed for every missing child and there must be some level of danger.

Authorities can issue what is called a child in danger notice in other cases.

Advisories are where they ask the media to help in situations such as when a child wanders away from home.

For anyone interested in learning more about Amber Alerts in Arkansas, you can click here for more.

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