January 13 is Amber Alert Awareness Day. The Amber Alert is the single most well known law enforcement tool when a child is missing. We did a story in July 2008 on when an Amber Alert is activated in Nevada. The rules are quite stringent, and the authorities that I've spoken with are proud that they are sticklers for the tough rules. Nevada's Amber Alert system launched in 2003. Since then there have been 23 activations involving 30 children with 29 children safely recovered.
On January 13, 1996, Amber Hagerman was abducted while riding her bicycle and then brutally murdered. The AMBER (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert network was created after her tragic death to provide emergency broadcast messages to the public when law enforcement determines that a child has been abducted. AMBER Alert broadcasts include information about the child and the abductor, including physical descriptions and information about the abductor's vehicle, which could lead to the child's recovery.
According to the federal Department of Justice, the Amber Alert system is about 90% successful.
Each of the 50 states has its own distinct Amber Alert plan, coordinated with bordering states, and operating under federal rules.
Today I learned something new: the DOJ also operates the National Missing and Unidentified Person System, NamUs. It has two distinct but connected missions: finding the missing and identifying remains.