Amber Alerts

In October 2002 the Ferndale Police Department joined with other law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, 911 centers, and emergency management personnel in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan Counties in implementing a regional AMBER Alert Plan.

AMBER alerts are emergency messages broadcast over the Emergency Alert System, TV, and radio, that inform the public of child abductions and enlist the public’s help in locating the missing child and/or suspect. The AMBER Plan was created in 1997 as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, a little girl who was kidnapped and brutally murdered while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas. The tragedy shocked and outraged the community. Residents contacted radio stations in the Dallas area and suggested they broadcast special “alerts” over the airwaves, to help prevent such incidents in the future. In response to the community’s concern for the safety of local children, the Dallas/Fort Worth Association of Radio Managers teamed up with local law-enforcement agencies in northern Texas and developed this innovative early warning system to help find abducted children. The AMBER program was so successful it has spread to nearly every state in the union, as well as throughout Canada and the United Kingdom.

When law enforcement has been notified of an abducted child, and determined that the case meets the AMBER Plan’s criteria for triggering an alert, the police quickly gather pertinent information on the child and suspect. In our area, the information is disseminated via the local 911 center, the North Puget Sound AMBER Plan’s official website, and the Emergency Alert System, to area media for immediate broadcast, and a 24 hour “tip line” is set up to take information from the public.

The AMBER Plan has been credited with recovering at least 190 endangered children!