The Alberta government is making changes to simplify the guidelines used to trigger an AMBER Alert. Under the new rules, police need only to believe a child has been abducted; the previous criteria required police to confirm a child had been abducted. This change in the criteria may help police expedite the alerts and assist in the return of victims to their families.
Representatives from law enforcement agencies, the Solicitor General and Public Security ministry, and the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) reviewed the criteria and found Alberta’s AMBER Alert system was working well, but saw room for improvement.
Alberta’s AMBER Alert is a program whereby law enforcement agencies, the media and local broadcasters voluntarily cooperate to send emergency broadcasts to the public when a child or vulnerable person has been abducted and a life is in danger.
Four criteria must be met before police can activate an AMBER Alert (the latter three criteria have not changed):
- Reasonable belief a child, or an adult with a proven mental or physical disability, has been abducted;
- police believe the child or an adult with a proven mental or physical disability is in danger of serious harm or death;
- there is enough descriptive information about the child or adult with a proven mental or physical disability, abductor and mode of transportation to enable the public to identify these elements; and
- the alert can be issued as soon as there is a reasonable expectation the abductee could be returned, or the abductor apprehended.