Amber Plan for North Carolina

updated 3/13/15

WebsiteNorth Carolina Amber Alert
Administrating AgencyNorth Carolina Department of Public Safety
ContactNona M. B. Everette
North Carolina Center for Missing Persons
1-800-522-5437
Steps for ActivationProcedures for AMBER Alert Activation in North Carolina
Step 1 - Local Law Enforcement Investigates

When a parent or caregiver calls local law enforcement to report their missing child, the law enforcement agency must first investigate the case and determine if the criteria warrant a request for an AMBER Alert. According to North Carolina law, an AMBER Alert can only be issued if all of the following criteria are met:

* the child is 17 years or younger
* the child is believed to have been abducted
* the child was not taken by a parent (unless the child is in danger)
* the child is not believed to be a runaway or voluntarily missing
* the abduction was reported to and investigated by a law enforcement agency.

Step 2 - Local Law Enforcement Calls NC Center for Missing Persons

After completing the investigation and determining the case meets the qualifying criteria, law enforcement will call the NC Center for Missing Persons (an agency within the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety) to request an AMBER Alert.

The law enforcement agency must have enough identifying information: such as description of child, abductor and vehicle information. It does no good to issue an AMBER Alert if there is not sufficient information that can be provided to the public to assist with the search. The law enforcement agency will enter the case into the National Crime Information Center to begin tracking the case.

Step 3 - NC Missing Persons Center Issues AMBER Alert

The NC Center for Missing Persons is the only agency that is authorized to issue an AMBER Alert. The NC Missing Persons Center contacts the NC State Highway Patrol with instructions to issue an Emergency Alert System (EAS) message. The EAS message is technically THE AMBER Alert. Through the EAS System, television and radio stations receive the tone signal that indicates an emergency message will follow. (This EAS is the same system that notifies citizens about severe weather warnings.) Descriptive information about the child and abductor will be announced in a pre-recorded message or displayed as a ‘crawl' message across the bottom of the television screen.

The NC Missing Persons Center also:
> contacts NCDOT to activate the electronic message signs on the highways. Signs will include vehicle make, model and license plate with “Abducted Child – Call *HP if seen”
> contacts the NC Education Lottery to activate messages on lottery terminals
> enters information that simultaneously updates the www.ncdps.gov website and notifies appropriate media and other key personnel
> contacts contiguous states if appropriate
Criteria for ActivationALL of the following statutory criteria (GS §143B-499.7) must be met before the NC Center for Missing Persons will activate an AMBER Alert.

The child is:

* 17 years old or younger
* believed to have been abducted,
* not taken by a parent (unless the child is in danger)
* not believed to be a runaway or voluntarily missing
* and the abduction has been reported to and investigated by a law enforcement agency.

The North Carolina Center for Missing Persons is the only agency that can activate an AMBER Alert and will do so ONLY at the request of an investigating law enforcement agency. It is then the responsibility of the Center to determine whether there is sufficient identifying data to justify AMBER Alert activation. For instance, there must be sufficient descriptive data on the child, abductor and/or abductor's vehicle for the public to be on the lookout for something. It does no good to activate an AMBER Alert if sufficient information can't be provided to the public.

If the abduction of the child is known or suspected to be by a parent of the child, the Center may disseminate information through the AMBER Alert System if the child is believed to be in danger of injury or death.
Scope of Amber AlertStatewide
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