How Does the Plan Work?

National Center for Missing and Exploited ChildrenOnce law enforcement has been notified about an abducted child, they determine whether the case meets the AMBER Plan's criteria for triggering an alert. Each program establishes its own AMBER Plan criteria; however, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children suggests criteria that should be met before an Alert is activated, and Laurel adheres to these criteria.

  • Law enforcement confirms that a child has been abducted
  • The abduction involves the taking of a child that is 17 years of age or younger, or is a dependent person that has a proven physical or mental disability *
  • Law enforcement believes the circumstances surrounding the abduction indicate that the child /person is in danger of serious bodily harm or death
  • There is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or suspect's vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help

Do not use the Amber Alert for locating children who have run away from home, missing children were taken by a non-custodial relative in a child custody case, lost children, or incidents when a law enforcement search is underway for a criminal suspect, i.e., murder, bank robber, rapist, and in which a child is involved.

The primary stations send the same information to area radio and television stations and cable systems via the EAS, and it is immediately broadcast by participating stations to millions of listeners. Some areas in Maryland are also incorporating electronic highway billboards in their Plans. The billboards, typically used to disseminate traffic information to drivers, now alert the public of abducted children, displaying pertinent information about the child, abductor or suspected vehicle that drivers might look for on highways.

Show All Answers

1. What is the Amber Alert Program?
2. When and Why Was the Amber Plan Created?
3. How Does the Plan Work?
4. How Long Does the Amber Alert Last?
5. What To Do When an AMBER Alert is Enacted?