What does it take to activate an AMBER Alert?

SPOKANE, Wash.–  The sound of an AMBER Alert going off on your phone, radio or TV is hard to mistake.

You probably heard it go off sometime this week as law enforcement searched for missing 15-year-old Lillian Dixon. The Lewiston teen is believed to be with 36-year-old Jonathan Bowles. They are possibly in rural Columbia County, Washington near Starbuck or Waitsburg.

AMBER Alerts allow law enforcement access to the on-air signals of broadcasting stations across the state to get the word out they are working to find a child who may be in danger. Not all missing children get AMBER Alerts. There are criteria their case has to meet, according to the state’s emergency management division. 

 What it takes to trigger an AMBER Alert in Washington:

  • A child has been taken and the incident is reported to law enforcement
  • The abducted child must be under 18 years of age
  • Law enforcement must believe the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death
  • There must be enough descriptive information to believe a broadcast will assist in the recovery of the child.

Amber Alerts date back to the 1990s when a little girl named Amber Hagerman went missing in Texas. She was found dead days later and the public demanded action.

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