When AMBER Alerts are issued

Posted at 10:42 PM, Oct 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-18 23:42:38-04

The AMBER Alert for Jayme Closs has raised the question of how common AMBER Alerts are issued.

Many not realizing, they aren't issued very often.

In fact, the Wisconsin Department of Justice tells us the AMBER Alert sent out Monday for Closs was only the second one issued in Wisconsin this year.

Many in Wisconsin hearing the alarming sound as their phones notified them Jayme Closs is missing from Barron.

The AMBER Alert showing this isn't just a runaway child.

"When an officer responds to a house for a missing juvenile, they have to quickly determine whether or not an AMBER Alert applies," said Captain Kevin Warych with the Green Bay Police Department.

He said there are certain criteria to be met before issuing an AMBER Alert.

"If the child is 17 years of age or younger, if the child has serious bodily harm or in the threat of serious bodily harm," added Captain Warych.

The department must also be able to give a description of the child and possible suspect who may have abducted the child, and any vehicles or other information that could lead to the suspect.

Local law enforcement then submits this information to the Department of Justice to request activation.

"You see it on your phone, TV. We just need the media at that point to really disseminate that information and make sure that anybody and everybody has that information," said Captain Warych.

You may also see the alerts while you're driving down the highway on a billboard. 

Captain Warych said an AMBER Alert is only issued in worst case scenarios.

"All law enforcement agencies come together. Communities come together to be the eyes and ears where police officers can't be," said Captain Warych.

The first record of an AMBER Alert in Wisconsin we could find was in 2003.

Since then there have been 34 AMBER Alerts, all ending in safe recoveries.

Everyone is still waiting to see if this one will bring another safe recovery.