OJP Seal
AMBER Alert, Best Practices Guide for Broadcasters and Other Media Outlets


The concept for AMBER Alert is simple and effective: Law enforcement and the media working together to alert the public and effect the quick, safe recovery of abducted children.

Seventy-four percent of children who are kidnapped and later found murdered are killed within the first three hours after being taken, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Time is critical if abducted children are to be successfully recovered. Early involvement of the media in a child abduction case can make the difference between unthinkable tragedy and joyous reunification.

During missing child incidents, the media serve as the conduit between law enforcement officials and the public in making sure timely and accurate information quickly reaches the intended public audience. Broadcast media are among the first responders—the vehicle that transmits the early, rapid AMBER (America 's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alerts giving citizens the basic information that will enable them to be involved in the search for an abducted child.

The critical role played by broadcast journalists in an early response does not minimize the need for other media during AMBER Alert incidents. Cable companies, newspapers, and specialty publications also play a vital role in reaching all segments of the public. AMBER Alerts solicit the public's eyes and ears, and all media, regardless of audience or geographical reach, can help enlist the public's participation when a child is missing or abducted. Consequently, all forms of media are important and needed.

Previous Contents Next