ALEA explains how Emergency Missing Child Alerts are issued

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 10:50 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - An Emergency Missing Child Alert was issued Thursday night when four young sisters went missing.

While they have since been found, some are wondering the differences between that alert and an AMBER Alert. While they have some differences, all of the alerts are important tools to have many eyes searching for a missing kid or kids.

First, local authorities take the missing child report. Depending on where they live will determine whether a police department or sheriff’s office takes the information.

Sgt. Jeremy Burkett says if it meets the necessary criteria, the alert will come through ALEA’s Fusion Center. He describes the group as people who take information and turn it into intelligence that police and the public can use.

As far as criteria, Sgt. Burkett says an AMBER Alert is issued when a child is abducted or kidnapped while an Emergency Missing Child Alert is issued when a child has simply gone missing. Either way, the alerts give information about who is missing like names, ages, photos, even where and when they were last seen.

“You’re really arming law enforcement officers and giving them the tools and resources that we need to be able to go out and do our jobs and really just to protect the public,” he explained. “That’s what it boils down to. It’s being able to keep people safe.”

Sgt. Burkett says as soon as you think your child might be missing is when you should contact local authorities. He says having law enforcement and the public on the look out is a critical resource when time is of the essence.

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