Criteria determines when AMBER Alert system is used

Amber Alert text

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Police outside of Rochester issued an AMBER Alert Monday, while searching for a 16-year-old girl who was found about 45 minutes later.

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The alert was sent to cell phones around Western New York, leading to questions surrounding the use of the AMBER Alert system.

The guidelines for issuing an AMBER Alert are outlined on The site says the alert system is designed to achieve a uniform network of plans across the country to minimize delays and confusion among jurisdictions.

The following are the recommended criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert:

– Reasonable belief by law enforcement that an abduction has occurred
– Law enforcement believes that a child is in imminent danger of serious injury or death
– Enough information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue the alert to assist in the recovery of the child
– Child is 17-year-old or younger
– Child’s name, along with other information, have been entered in the National Crime Information Center System

The NCIC system, which includes text notifications, expands the search for the child from local, state and regional to national. It is considered a critical element of the AMBER Alert plan.

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