January 13 brings awareness to child abduction

Published 9:12 am Thursday, January 13, 2022

January 13th is designated to commemorate and bring awareness to child abduction. In January 1996, nine-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted from her Dallas, Texas area neighborhood while she was riding her bicycle. A neighbor witnessed the abduction and reported the incident, in detail, to the police. Unfortunately, Amber’s body was found four days later in a ditch only four miles from her home. Following this tragedy, a concerned citizen had an idea. This idea later developed into the AMBER Alert plan.
Since the program’s inception in 2002, 1,085 children have been rescued in the United States due to an Amber Alert. 19 of those alerts were issued in Louisiana . In 2021, Louisiana had two Amber Alerts activations, which resulted in the safe recovery of three children.
While other states may vary in the number of Amber Alert plans, Louisiana has only one, statewide plan and it is administrated by Louisiana State Police with the cooperation of its media partners. The Louisiana Amber Alert Plan criteria adheres to the recommendations by the Department of Justice, but also takes into account situations where there is an increased level of urgency, yet does not rise to the level of an Amber Alert, through the use of the “Level II Endangered/Missing Child Advisory.”
In order to issue an Amber Alert very specific criteria must first be met.
AMBER Alert Criteria
Law enforcement confirms a child, aged 17 or under, has been abducted.
Law enforcement believes the circumstances surrounding the abduction indicate that the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death.
There must be enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or suspect’s vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will assist in the recovery of the child.
The public plays an integral role when an Amber Alert is issued and by working together, staying alert to your surroundings and reporting even minor details we can bring a child home safely.