To signify the importance of National AMBER Alert Day, the Patrol is again participating in the National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest. The 2013 contest is open to all Missouri fifth grade students. Students will
create 11" x 14" posters that reflect the contest theme, "Bring Our Missing Children Home."
Each participating Missouri school will choose a first place winner and submit that winner to the Highway Patrol's Missing Persons Unit no later than March 8, 2013. A completed application, found on the Patrol's website, must accompany the poster. Posters shall be mailed to: MSHP Missing Persons Unit, Attn: Heather Elder, Q/DDCC, P.O. Box 568, Jefferson City, MO
65102-0568. One Missouri poster will be given an overall first place award, and will then be automatically entered in the national competition.
Each year on Jan. 13, Missouri, as well as the rest of the country, honors the importance of AMBER Alerts on National AMBER Alert Day. This year will mark the 16th anniversary of the creation of the AMBER Alert
System. The date is an important reminder to Missourians to stay vigilant and to make child protection a top priority. AMBER (which stands for
America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) was created in 1996, when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed with Texas police to develop an early
warning system for finding abducted children. The program was soon adopted across the nation as a legacy to AMBER Hagerman, the nine-year-old girl who
was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, TX, and then brutally murdered.
"When a child is abducted, the greatest enemy of law enforcement is time," said Capt. Kim Hull, statewide AMBER Alert coordinator and division director for the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Information and Communications Technology Division. "An AMBER Alert warns the public immediately through the Emergency Alert System to be on the lookout for the missing child and the abductor."
One of the common misunderstandings of the AMBER Alert System is the stringent criteria which must be met before the alert can be issued. To qualify for an AMBER Alert, there must be indication that an abduction has
occurred; there must be sufficient details to make a public alert useful; the victim must be 17 years of age or younger; and there must be credible threat of serious harm or death to the victim. If an AMBER Alert does not
apply, an Endangered Persons Advisory (EPA) may be issued. An EPA alerts the media as well, but does not broadcast the information in a high alert fashion.
AMBER Alerts are broadcast through a joint cooperative effort by the Patrol, the Missouri Department of Transportation, and Missouri media. Once it is determined an alert meets the criteria, the Patrol's Troop F communications personnel issue the information to law enforcement and the media for immediate broadcast. MoDOT message boards along Interstate 70 and
Interstate 44 play a vital role in dispersing the information via 48 permanent electronic message boards along those routes.
Effective Jan. 1, 2013, individuals are able to receive notice of AMBER Alerts through the Wireless Emergency Alerts system to their smartphones and feature phones/services. The messages will be restricted to 90
characters. Therefore, subscribers will receive a message indicating an AMBERÂ Alert has been issued, vehicle information if available,Â and to check local media. Wireless Emergency Alerts information is available here:
For more information regarding Missouri's AMBER Alert System or the National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest, please visit the Patrol's website at www.mshp.dps.mo.gov or call the Missing Persons Unit at (573) 526-6178.