AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will join the country in observing national AMBER Alert Awareness Day on Wednesday, Jan. 13, marking 25 years since 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Arlington, Texas, was abducted. Hagerman was found dead four days later. Her case, which remains unsolved, led to the creation of the AMBER Alert system, which stands for “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.”
“The state’s AMBER Alert program is a proven tool in helping save abducted children throughout Texas by engaging the public and other stakeholders,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “The vigilance and efforts of law enforcement, our partner agencies and the people of Texas are vital in protecting our most vulnerable population – our children.”
In response to Amber Hagerman’s death, law enforcement and broadcast media representatives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area created the first AMBER Alert program, which served as a nationwide model for alerting the public about abducted children. All 50 U.S. states and several other countries now have an AMBER Alert program.
Established in 2002, the Texas AMBER Alert program is managed by DPS. The alerts provide law enforcement a mechanism for rapid notification to broadcast media and the public in these serious child abduction cases when they meet certain statutory criteria. Additionally, there are 18 regional AMBER Alert programs around the state, supported by various law enforcement, emergency management and non-profit agencies.
Since the state program was created, 251 alerts have been issued and 263 children have been located. Some of the alerts issued were for multiple children. Activation of the Texas AMBER Alert Network involves resources from the following groups:
· Texas Department of Public Safety
· Office of the Governor
· National Weather Service
· Texas Department of Transportation
· Local, state and federal law enforcement
· Broadcast Media
· Texas Association of Broadcasters
· Independent Bankers Association of Texas
· Texas Lottery Commission
· Numerous other stakeholders
Parents concerned about a missing child should:
- Immediately contact their local law enforcement agency.
- Be prepared to give law enforcement a recent photo of your child, provide a detailed description of what the child was wearing, any details that could identify the child or abductor — including vehicle and license plate information.
DPS offers an email notification system that distributes AMBER Alert information to members of law enforcement, media and the public. To become a subscriber, register online with a valid email address and zip code at Subscribe to Receive Texas Alerts.
Follow @TX_Alerts to receive AMBER Alert information statewide (as well as other alerts managed by the department).