Specific criteria must be met before AMBER Alert is issued

Local News

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – There are four critical criteria that must be met before an AMBER Alert is issued. When someone reports a missing child to 911, agencies across the state immediately spring into action. 

Captain Jay Wheeler says, “The goal of the AMBER plan itself is to get the information out to the public as quickly as we can.” 

Every missing person report is taken seriously, but there are strict criteria for when an AMBER Alert is issued. As soon as a case qualifies, regional dispatch enters the information into the state’s database and the national crime information center. 

Captain Jay Wheeler is in charge of regional dispatch. He says, “We’ve got a time limit on how long we have to get that information into the Ohio database in the national database.” 

Within minutes, they’ll then get calls from the Center for Exploited Children and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. 

At the same time, the state is updating roadway signs, issuing tv and radio alerts, and pushing notifications to cell phones. Captain Wheeler says AMBER Alerts don’t happen very often. There has been just one across the state of Ohio so far this year. 

Dispatch pursues other solutions, even if a case doesn’t qualify for an AMBER Alert. Captain Wheeler says, “We contact the company and they will send out phone call blast to an area.” He says the key is getting out accurate information as soon as possible. “Because that will allow the public to become our eyes as law-enforcement to recover, find the child hopefully safely.” 

Captain Wheeler doesn’t want the AMBER Alert criteria to keep anyone from calling in a missing person. There’s no 24-hour waiting period to report someone missing. He says dispatch, police, and sheriff’s deputies are here to help anytime someone is missing. 

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