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An AMBER Alert

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What is an AMBER Alert?

An AMBER Alert—originally named after abducted child Amber Hagerman of Texas and later turned into a backronym for "America's Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response"—uses a variety of broadcast methods to engage the public in the urgent search for a child who has been abducted and whose life is in danger.

When the Sûreté du Québec issues an AMBER Alert, all partners are asked to collaborate for at least two hours. Police deem this initial period to be the most critical in bringing about a happy resolution to a crisis situation.

Background

Amber Hagerman photo

Launched in Québec in 2003, the AMBER Alert was created in the United States in 1996 following a tragic kidnapping that took place in Arlington, Texas.

Although a witness had provided police with a description of the man who had abducted nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, along with a description of the suspect's vehicle, the girl was found dead four days later.

On April 30, 2003, the U.S. Congress adopted the AMBER Alert Bill to ensure that use of the Alert would be standardized throughout the United States.

Since the AMBER Alert was introduced in Québec, every case has had positive results.

How it works and our partners

When an AMBER Alert is issued, all partners are asked to collaborate for at least two hours. This is the purpose of the AMBER Alert, which is triggered in the most serious and time-critical cases of abduction of children under the age of 18.

The AMBER Alert was implemented in Québec through the collaboration of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), the RCMP and the Sûreté du Québec. Besides this partnership between law enforcement agencies, other partners collaborate when an AMBER Alert is issued:

  • Facebook and the Child Safety Research & Innovation Center (CIRSC) of New-Brunswick : It is now possible to subscribe to the Quebec AMBER alert page on Facebook to receive information regarding an initiated AMBER alert in the province.
  • The Québec Missing Children's Network assists the family involved.
  • The road traffic controllers of the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) help in the search.
  • Transports Québec's traffic management centre broadcasts the information on message panels.
  • The Association des centres d'urgence du Québec receives calls from the public and relays them to the police.
  • Loto-Québec broadcasts the information on its customer terminal screens.
  • Information is broadcast on the radio every 20 minutes for two hours, or less if the child is found. Information is broadcast on TV on a news ticker at the bottom of the screen for two hours without interruption. After that, the news ticker is withdrawn, but the police continue to inform the public through the usual means of communication.
  • Wireless AMBER Alerts banner
  • Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) : Free Wireless Amber Alerts are now available to Canadian cell phone customers. It is a new text message service to help in the safe return of abducted children. This service will allow customers of most Canadian wireless service providers to opt-in to receive free Amber Alerts as text messages on their cell phones. To receive Amber Alert SMS text messages register at : http://www.wirelessamber.ca/

When is an AMBER Alert issued?

An AMBER alert is activated when a situation involving a police force having jurisdiction in Québec meets the following three criteria simultaneously, without exception:

  1. The police have reasonable grounds to believe that a child (someone under 18 years of age) has been abducted.

  2. The circumstances of the abduction indicate that the child is in danger of serious physical injury or death.

  3. The police have sufficient descriptive information on one or more elements (child, suspect, means of transportation used) to consider that the immediate broadcast of the alert will help in finding the child.

The public's responsibility

During an AMBER Alert, if you have any information that could help police locate the missing child, or if you have seen the child, the suspect or the vehicle used by the suspect (as described in the AMBER Alert broadcast), immediately call 911, 310-4141, *4141, 1-800-659-GANG (4264) or your local police department.

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Dernière modification : 2014-07-15

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© Gouvernement du Québec, 2014

La Sûreté du Québec, corps de police national, agit sous l'autorité du ministre de la Sécurité publique et a compétence pour prévenir et réprimer les infractions aux lois sur l'ensemble du territoire du Québec.

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