The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will join the nation in observing National AMBER Alert Awareness Day on Wednesday, Jan. 13. AMBER stands for “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response,” and was named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and murdered 20 years ago in 1996 in Arlington, Texas.

In the wake of Amber Hagerman’s death, law enforcement and media representatives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area created the first AMBER Alert program, which served as a model nationwide for alerting the public about abducted children. All 50 U.S. states as well as several other countries have an AMBER Alert program.

DPS manages the statewide program – which was established in 2002 – and provides law enforcement a mechanism for rapid notification of the media and the public in these serious child abduction cases.

Since 2002 through the end of 2015, 143 children have been safely recovered during 141 DPS activations of the Texas AMBER Alert Program. (Some alerts have involved more than one child.) Activation of the Texas AMBER Alert Network involves resources from the following groups:

  • Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Office of the Governor
  • National Weather Service
  • Texas Department of Transportation
  • Local, state and federal law enforcement
  • Media
  • Texas Association of Broadcasters
  • Independent Bankers Association of Texas
  • Texas Lottery Commission
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which was added as a state partner in 2005, providing notification to the public through wireless carriers, content providers and major retailers.

 If your child is missing:

  • Immediately call your local law enforcement agency to file a missing persons report.
  • Be prepared to provide law enforcement with the most recent photo of the child, a detailed description of what the child was wearing and any other information that could help identify the child or the abductor, such as vehicle and license plate information.

DPS currently offers an email notification system that distributes AMBER Alert information at no cost to members of law enforcement, media and the public. Anyone wishing to become a subscriber can register online with a valid email address and zip code at http://www.dps.texas.gov/DEM/AMBERALERT/AMBERREGISTER.ASPX.

For more information on the Texas AMBER Alert Program, visit http://www.dps.texas.gov/dem/Operations/Alerts/index.htm.