Wisconsin AMBER Alert Program
 
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What is the Wisconsin AMBER Alert Plan?

The AMBER Alert is an emergency child abduction alert. Its purpose is to save the life of a child.

Wisconsin's AMBER Alert Plan is a collaborative effort between the Wisconsin 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, the Department of Revenue—Division of Lottery, and local law enforcement agencies.

An AMBER Alert disseminates information to the public 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 appropriate law enforcement agency using the telephone number listed in the alert.


A Message from Wisconsin Attorney General
Brad Schimel



“A child abduction is every parent’s worst nightmare. We know that time is of the essence to safely recover a child whose life is in danger. Wisconsin’s AMBER Alert Plan is a partnership that mobilizes the public to help find children whose lives are at stake in those critical moments. We are proud to partner with local law enforcement agencies, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, Wisconsin Public Radio, the Dane County Public Safety Communication Center, the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Revenue—Division of Lottery, and concerned citizens, all of whom are critical to the success of the AMBER Alert Program.”


– Attorney General Brad Schimel

Criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert:

1. Child must be 17 years of age or younger
2. Child must be in danger of serious bodily harm or death.
3. Initiating agency must have enough descriptive information about the child, the suspect(s) and/or the suspect vehicle(s) to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help locate the child.

Notes: AMBER Alert is not to be used for runaways or family abductions unless the child's life is in danger.

The AMBER Alert plan is for the safe recovery of missing children that a law enforcement agency believes have been abducted and are in danger of serious bodily harm or death. Strict adherence to the criteria is essential in order to prevent the AMBER Alert plan from losing credibility and becoming less effective.

Process for issuing an AMBER Alert:

AMBER Alert must be requested by the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction. The local law enforcement agency must have reason to believe the child has been abducted.

The initiating law enforcement agency contacts the Dane County Public Safety Communication Center to request an AMBER Alert activation.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice will determine whether to issue the alert based on the criteria and status of the investigation.

The AMBER Alert will be activated utilizing the following methods:

  • Emergency Alert System (EAS): broadcast over television and radio stations. 
  • The EAS is broadcast every 30 minutes for the first two hours of an active alert, then every hour for the next three hours. 
  • Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA): broadcast directly to individual cellular telephones located in the broadcast area. A WEA will be issued only once per AMBER Alert activation.
  • AMBER Alert Wisconsin website
  • Highway message boards
  • Lottery terminals
  • Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. Sign up for email alerts here: http://wisconsincrimealert.gov/ 

When an AMBER Alert is cancelled, the cancel notification will remain on the AMBER Alert Wisconsin website for 24 hours.

Note: Not all AMBER Alerts are issued statewide. Regional broadcast is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Why was the AMBER Alert Plan Created?

Amber HagermanAmber Hagerman


In January 1996, nine-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted in Arlington, Texas, in broad daylight with witnesses. Despite intensive police, FBI, and media involvement, Amber’s body was recovered four days later. Her murder remains unsolved.

In her memory, and that of abducted children nationwide, the state of Texas developed the first AMBER Alert Plan to aid in the recovery of abducted children. Since that time, all 50 states have developed their own AMBER Alert Plans.

While the plan is named in honor of Amber Hagerman, AMBER is also an acronym that stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.


Resources



Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Missing & Exploited Children & Adults
https://www.missingpersons.doj.wi.gov/
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
http://www.missingkids.org

What to do if your child is missing
http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/publications/NC198.pdf

General AMBER Alert Info
https://www.amberalert.gov/
 
NetSmartz Internet Safety
http://www.netsmartz.org/Parents


Statistics

National Statistics - https://www.amberalert.gov/statistics.htm

Wisconsin AMBER Alert Activations by County



1 AMBER Alert:
Pepin County

3 AMBER Alerts
Racine County, Columbia County, Marquette County

2 AMBER Alerts
Milwaukee County

5 AMBER Alerts
Milwaukee County (3), Sheboygan County, Brown County

3 AMBER Alerts
Eau Claire County, Douglas County, Dane County

2 AMBER Alerts
Kenosha County, Racine County

1 AMBER Alert
Milwaukee County

2 AMBER Alerts
Milwaukee County, St Croix County

2 AMBER Alerts
Brown County, Walworth County

1 AMBER Alert
Racine County

No AMBER Alerts

1 AMBER Alert
Green Lake County

5 AMBER Alerts
Eau Claire County, Milwaukee County (2), Waukesha County, Brown County

2 AMBER Alerts
Milwaukee (2)


From 2003 to 2016:
31 Total Activations

Children recovered safely:
42

Children recovered as a direct result of an AMBER Alert:
32