AMBER Alert FAQs
How does it work?
- 770 KKOB Radio, owned by Cumulus Communications, is the designated ‘state primary station’ for the Emergency Alert System. They are at the ‘top’ of the information pyramid if you will.
- Every radio and television station in the state that is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is required to monitor their EAS equipment.
- The agency investigating the abduction can call 770 KKOB Radio, and record a message for broadcast over the EAS (if that agency has entered into an agreement with Citadel Communications).
- 770 KKOB Radio will then broadcast the message over the EAS. Essentially, a statewide broadcast of the Amber Alert will occur.
- There are stringent rules as to when an ‘Amber Alert’ may be broadcast. This helps alleviate false alarms and over-use of the system.
What are the criteria for an Amber Alert?
- There must be evidence of a non-family abduction;
- Of a child 17 years of age or less; and,
- There must be specific information concerning the abductor and/or child, which would prove useful to the public in hopes of recovering the child; and,
- There must be reason to believe the child in is imminent danger of bodily harm or death.
Who is currently participating in the state Amber Alert program?
The following agencies, listed below, have entered into agreements with Citadel Communications to issue Amber Alerts through the EAS system:
- Albuquerque Police Department
- Albuquerque Fire Department
- Aztec Police Department
- Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department
- Bloomfield Police Department
- Farmington Police Department
- Gallup Police Department
- Lea County Sheriff’s Department
- New Mexico State Police
- Rio Rancho Public Safety Department
- Sandoval County Emergency Management
- Santa Fe Police Department
- Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department
- U.S. Air Force, Kirtland A.F.B.
What if my local law enforcement agency is not participating?
County and city law enforcement agencies are encouraged to participate in Amber Alert. They can participate in one of two ways:
- Develop and implement their own plan, or
- Utilize the New Mexico State Police as their point of contact to issue Amber Alerts for them
Realizing that smaller agencies may not have the resources to effectively implement their own Amber Plan, as a matter of state law and Department of Public Safety Policy, the New Mexico State Police will issue an Amber Alert for ANY agency investigating an abduction. Of course, the above criterion must be met. Efforts undertaken by law-enforcement agencies during the initial stages of a missing-child report may often make the difference between a case with a swift, successful conclusion and one evolving into months or even years of stressful, unresolved investigation.
State Police now offer a 2 hour class entitled, Child Abduction Response and Amber Alert. The class covers:
- Initial tasks when responding to the missing child/abduction call.
- Investigative steps to enhance response and timely entry of information into NCIC.
- Long term investigations.
- Parental abduction/custodial interference.
- Overview of the Amber Alert criteria and activation process.
- Overview of the Endangered Persons Advisory recently passed by the legislature which went into effect July 2007.
If your agency is interested in this training, contact:
NMSP Public Information Officer
What is the state law concerning Amber Alert?
Governor Richardson signed into law House Bill 16, creating an Amber Alert Law in New Mexico. The law became effective upon his signature, which occurred April 1, 2003.
- The law requires the New Mexico State Police to develop and implement a “state-wide” Amber Plan.
- Agencies that already have their own Amber Plan are not affected by the legislation.
- Aside from an EAS broadcast, the law also requires the State Police to do the following:
- Notify all law enforcement agencies in New Mexico of the Amber Alert (this is accomplished through NMLETS [New Mexico Law Enforcement Telecommunications System]).
- Provide the information to the Radio Communications Bureau (RCB) of the General Services Department. The RCB provides radio dispatch service to all state government entities outside of the Department of Public Safety.
What other resources are used for Amber Alerts?
The State Police policy mandates the following four resources be utilized when an Amber Alert Occurs:
- EAS broadcast (state law)
- Notification of ALL law enforcement (state law)
- Notification of GSD/RCB for re-broadcast (state law)
- Broadcast to ALL N.M. lottery terminals (policy)
Any of the above resources are available to ALL law enforcement agencies in New Mexico, regardless of the existence of their own Amber Plan. The State Police can also employ the following resources:
- BeyondMissing.com – This is a free, web-based resource where missing person flyers can be made, distributed, and printed.
- National Weather Service – The State Police has access to the radio infrastructure maintained and operated by the National Weather Service. Actual Amber Alerts can be broadcast over their network.
- AOL’s Amber Alerts On-Line – America On-Line will broadcast Amber Alerts via the internet.
Again, these resources are available to all law enforcement agencies, regardless of their participation in a local Amber Plan.
Where can I get more information about missing and/or exploited children?
- MissingPersons – The New Mexico Missing Persons Information page.
- www.missingkids.com – The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – tons of useful information for both law enforcement and parents.
- www.dps.nm.org- Links to the Amber Alert page, our policy, the New Mexico law, and other useful resources.