The Amber Alert Is Not Used For All Missing Children

Why wasn’t Tori Stafford featured as an Amber Alert? While the police were searching as hard for the young girl she was not part of the Amber Alert system.
On April 11 Const. Laurie-Anne Maitland of the Oxford Community Police explained to the reasoning behind Tori not being part of the Amber Alert notification system:

“There have been a lot of questions about the Amber Alert and why it wasn’t issued,” Maitland said Saturday. “At the time of the call coming in, we didn’t have what was required for an Amber Alert – not even close.

“At the time, we did not have a confirmed abduction . . . we did not have (information indicating) serious bodily harm or death and we have to have descriptive information of the child and the abductor and any vehicle.”

“When the criteria is not met, (the Amber Alert) is not done. It’s no less of an alert because it’s not called an Amber Alert. That’s one of the things that’s been difficult for a lot of people to understand – they have this belief that there’s something we could be doing that we’re not, when that’s not true.”

At a news conference today the police still are insisting that the criteria was not met for Tori.

While police were looking for a woman that Tori went home from school with on the day of her disappearance it was not thought she was abducted. Instead the police considered this a criminal investigation from the very beginning.

The Amber Alert stands for “America’s Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response.” It was named for Amber Hagerman who was murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996 at the age of nine. The program is in the United States and Canada.

AMBER Alerts are distributed via commercial radio stations, satellite radio, television stations, and cable TV by the Emergency Alert System (where they are termed “Child Abduction Emergency” or “Amber Alerts”), as well as via e-mail, electronic traffic-condition signs, the LED billboards which are located outside of newer Walgreens locations, along with the LED/LCD signs of billboard companies such as Clear Channel Outdoor, CBS Outdoor and Lamar, and wireless device SMS text messages.

The criteria for a child being placed in the system is:

1. Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place
2. The child must be at risk of serious injury or death
3. There must be sufficient descriptive information of child, captor, or captor’s vehicle to issue an alert
4. The child must be 17 years old or younger

Not all police departments use the second criteria when placing an Amber Alert resulting in many Amber Alerts focusing on parental abductions where it is not thought that the child is in risk of serious injury.

The only difference between Canada and the United States is who is notified. (RCMP instead of the FBI)

The sad truth about the children on the Amber Alert program is that there are many more sad outcomes than positive ones. Still the alert can at times save young lives.


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