Amber Plan for Virginia

updated 3/16/15

WebsiteVirginia Amber Alert
Administrating AgencyVirginia State Police
ContactFirst Sgt. K. Scott Downs
Virginia State Police & Missing Children’s Clearinghouse
804-674 2026
Steps for ActivationActivation of the Virginia “AMBER Alert” Plan will only be initiated through the Virginia State Police. Once the contacted agency receives a report that a child has been abducted, the following process should be followed:

1. Confirm that an abduction has taken place and the criteria have been met.

2. The information submitted through the AMBER Alert Request Activation website will be verified with the investigating agency. If the website is unavailable, Virginia “AMBER Alert” Activation forms,, equivalent Regional Plan or Agency forms which contain the required information as set forth in the Virginia “AMBER Alert” Plan may be submitted.

3. Include a current photograph of the abducted child that can be emailed or submitted through the AMBER Alert Request Activation website.

4. If the website is unavailable, send the forms to the Virginia Missing Children Information Clearinghouse (VMCC) by telephonic facsimile. Contact the VMCC immediately confirming receipt of the packet information, or if you should have any difficulties transmitting information, designate a department contact for VMCC (include a name and telephone number on the standardized facsimile form). Local law enforcement agencies must follow intra-departmental policy regarding the actual investigation process involving any abducted/kidnapped child incident, which takes place within their jurisdiction. If a current portrait of the child is available, forward it along with a copy of all abduction details or summaries to the Virginia Missing Children Clearinghouse Manager vamissing@vsp.virginia.gov.
Telephone #: 804-674-2026 Facsimile #: 804-674-6704

5. After being contacted by the reporting agency, VMCC will conduct the required tasks as outlined in this plan and confirm receipt of the Virginia “AMBER Alert” information with the reporting agency.

6. After being contacted, the Virginia State Police will contact any/all broadcasting companies through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) as per the Virginia Emergency Alert System Plan. The Virginia State Police may provide supplemental information with a detailed summary of the child abduction, and forward a copy of the abducted child’s portrait to any/all broadcasting companies. All Virginia Emergency Alert System activations for “AMBER Alert” (CAE) will conform to the Virginia Emergency Alert System Plan.

7. After an initial EAS “AMBER Alert” has been broadcasted, a rebroadcast of “AMBER Alert” information (non-EAS) is made at least every 15 minutes for the first two hours, and every 30 minutes for the next three hours. Once the first five hours have passed, the broadcasters may provide the information and any updates on an hourly basis for the next seven hours (not to exceed 12 hours after the notification was received, unless circumstances dictate that the alert should be extended). The decision to rebroadcast the “AMBER Alert” information will be left up to each individual broadcasting station and is completely voluntary. Only one EAS message will be broadcast.

The above-mentioned steps provide an efficient and streamlined approach to disseminate detailed information regarding an abducted child whose life may be in danger. The goal of this notification process is to be quick, clear, concise, uncluttered, and effective.


Local Law Enforcement Agencies Responsibilities and Procedures

Prior to activation of any “AMBER Alert” the Virginia Missing Children Information Clearinghouse (VMCC) shall be contacted with the required information to activate the Virginia “AMBER Alert” Plan. The requesting agency will be required to submit updated information and notify the VMCC of the recovery of the child or cancellation of the alert.

Law enforcement agencies should follow these operating procedures:

After local law enforcement officials determine an abduction has occurred (Please refer to the Virginia “AMBER Alert“ (Plan Flow Chart, page 18), they should notify the Virginia Missing Children Information Clearinghouse immediately at the Virginia State Police Administrative Headquarters and provide them with the required information through the Virginia “AMBER Alert” Request Activation Website.

Additionally, the law enforcement agency should do the following:

1. As additional information presents itself, including photographs, the agency shall contact the VMCC immediately with updates so the information can be disseminated to the media.

2. Upon closure of the child abduction case, immediately notify the VMCC with pertinent information.

The prompt broadcasting of an abduction is an integral part of the Virginia “AMBER Alert” Plan and our statewide child protection network. If it saves the life of only one child, it is well worth your participation. That one child may be from your community.

Criteria for ActivationCriteria for Activation of the Plan:

1. The abducted child must be 17 years of age or younger or is currently enrolled in a secondary school in the Commonwealth, regardless of age, and the law enforcement agency believes the child has been abducted (unwillingly taken from their environment without permission from the child’s parent or legal guardian).

2. The law enforcement agency believes the missing child is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death.

3. A law enforcement investigation has taken place that verified the abduction or eliminated alternative explanations.

4. Sufficient information is available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the child, suspect, and/or the suspect’s vehicle.

5. The Child must be entered into the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) missing person files as soon as practical.

If all of the aforementioned criteria are not met, the Virginia AMBER Alert Plan will not be activated.
Scope of Amber AlertStatewide
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