AMBER Alert Program

The AMBER Alert program is a child abduction recovery plan originally started in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in 1996 after nine-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted and murdered. In response to community concern, radio stations in the area joined with law enforcement agencies to establish a program capable of quickly distributing information about child abductions to the general public. In memory of Amber Hagerman, the program was called the AMBER Plan—America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.

The Montana Department of Justice implemented a similar program in Montana in 2003.

National AMBER Alert Website

Should a child abduction in Montana meet the alert criteria, law enforcement will issue an active alert through a national AMBER Alert website. The DOJ banners will change to an AMBER Alert banner.

In January 2005, Montana became the third state to join the national AMBER Alert Web Portal. That web portal:

  • provides detailed information about a suspected abduction
  • notifies law enforcement, television and radio stations, and others of the abduction
  • allows computer users to sign up to receive email notification of suspected abductions within their state

AMBER Alert Notification

Should a child abduction in Montana meet the alert criteria, law enforcement will issue an active alert through a national AMBER Alert website. The DOJ banners will change to an AMBER Alert banner.

Montana AMBER Alert Criteria

To initiate an AMBER Alert, call 9-1-1 and provide your local law enforcement agency with all the information you can about a suspected child abduction. To activate the program, all of the following criteria must be met:

  • There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that a child has been abducted or has disappeared under suspicious circumstances.
  • The missing child is age 17 years or younger, or has a proven mental or physical disability.
  • The law enforcement agency believes the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
  • There is enough descriptive information about the victim and abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert to assist in the recovery of the child.
  • The child’s name and other critical data elements, including the Child Abduction flag, have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer.

The AMBER Alert system is not used to track runaways, missing children or children involved in custody disputes. The program is restricted to child abduction cases that could be life threatening.

Support for AMBER Alert

Montana’s radio and television stations and law enforcement agencies voluntarily participate in the Montana AMBER Alert program. Special thanks for establishing the program in Montana go to:

  • the Montana Broadcasters Association
  • the Montana Association of Chiefs of Police
  • the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association