What’s a Real Amber Alert?

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Amber Alert

When law enforcement has reason to believe a child has been abducted, an Amber Alert is issued. However, when a child is reported as “missing,” no such action is taken.

“Before an alert is initiated, there are three guidelines that must be met,” says Lincoln Louttit, Manager of Corporate Communications at the Sault Ste Marie Police Service.

“A law enforcement agency believes a child under 18 has been abducted, that the circumstances of the abduction indicate the child is in danger, and that there is descriptive information on the child, the abductor or the suspect’s vehicle.”

The case of a missing 14-year-old girl from Prince Edward Island has many asking via social media why an alert has not been issued for her. Others have called for a redefinition of Amber Alert protocols.

As it stands now, there must be evidence that a child has been kidnapped before police will issue an alert.

“For the purposes of the Amber Alert program, an abducted child is a child who is involuntarily missing from their custodian or the persons having caretaking responsibilities for the child without the custodian’s consent,” adds Louttit.

By: Mike McDonald, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter