WI Clearinghouse for Missing & Exploited Children & Adults


Commemorative AMBER Alert Stamp

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Wisconsin Amber Alert Plan?  
Why was the Amber Alert Plan created?
How does Wisconsin's Amber Alert Plan work?
How is Amber Alert information broadcast?
How are highway message board signs used?
What can the public do to help?   
What are the Amber Alert broadcast areas?

What is the Wisconsin Amber Alert Plan?

The Wisconsin Amber Alert Plan is an effort to enhance law enforcementís ability to respond effectively and efficiently when a child has been abducted in the hope of preventing the victimization of children in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin's Amber Alert Plan is a collaborative effort between the Department of Justice, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, Wisconsin Public Radio, the Dane County Public Safety Communication Center, the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, the Department of Transportation, and local law enforcement agencies.

The statewide emergency alert system provides law enforcement agencies access to the on‑air signals of broadcasting stations throughout the state during the critical minutes following a child abduction.

An Amber Alert disseminates information about the abduction of a child as rapidly as possible. The broadcast will contain descriptive information about the child and the abduction. Citizens with information can then contact the listed law enforcement agency.
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Why was the Amber Alert Plan created?

In January, 1996, Amber Hagerman was abducted in Arlington, Texas, in broad daylight with witnesses. Despite intensive police, FBI, and media involvement, Amberís body was found four days later, and the crime has remained unsolved. In her memory, and that of abducted children nationwide, Texas developed the first Amber Alert Plan to aid in the recovery of abducted children. Since that time, many cities and states have developed their own Amber Alert Plans.
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How does Wisconsin's Amber Alert Plan work?

Amber Alerts must be requested by the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction.

The local law enforcement agency has to have reason to believe the child has been abducted.

The initiating law enforcement agency contacts the Dane County Public Safety Communication Center (DCPSCC) to request Amber Alert activation.

DCPSCC will verify Amber Alert criteria with the reporting/initiating agency.

DCPSCC will activate an Amber Alert utilizing the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

DCPSCC will post the information on the Amber Alert website: www.amberalertwisconsin.org.
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How is Amber Alert information broadcast?

When an Amber Alert is activated, Wisconsin radio and television stations interrupt programming to broadcast information about an abducted child using the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which is typically used for alerting the public to severe weather emergencies.

Amber Alerts will be broadcast every 30 minutes for the first two hours, then every hour for the next three hours. Radio and TV station participation is provided as a public service, without commercial endorsement.
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How are highway message board signs used?

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has changeable, electronic message board signs on specific highways in Wisconsin.  As part of the Amber Alert system, these signs can be used to transmit information about a confirmed child abduction case.  The signs will only be activated for an incident that meets Amber Alert criteria.  During an Amber Alert, the Dane County Public Safety Communication Center will contact the Department of Transportation to request activation of highway message boards if appropriate.
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What can the public do to help?

The publicís role is critical to the success of an Amber Alert.

If you witness any child abduction, contact your local law enforcement agency or dial 911.

If an Amber Alert has been activated, be on the lookout for the child, suspect, and/or vehicle described in the alert.

If you locate the child, suspect or vehicle fitting the description, immediately call the telephone number given in the Amber Alert to provide authorities with as much information as possible.

Persons who locate an abductor should NEVER take any action other than to contact law enforcement.
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