WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — In light of the recent Amber Alert sent out for a 5-year-old Rose Hill boy, KSN News reached out to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) to find out what the procedure is for an Amber Alert. The child was found safe in Oklahoma, and two suspects were arrested.
The first step in any possible child abduction is to contact law enforcement. If the law enforcement agency believes the case to be an Amber Alert situation, it will contact the KBI Service Desk, a 24-hour hotline.
After contacting the KBI Service Desk, law enforcement will be directed to a KBI Amber Alert coordinator to weigh the facts of the incident with the Department of Justice (DOJ) program criteria:
- There has been a child abduction.
- The abducted child is 17 years of age or younger or an individual with a mental or physical disability.
- There is reason to believe the victim is in imminent danger, serious bodily injury or death.
- There is sufficient information to disseminate to the general public, which could assist in the safe recovery of the victim and/or the apprehension of a suspect.
If the coordinator agrees to launch an Amber Alert, they will gather the child’s information, vehicle information, suspect information, photographs, etc. The KBI will then enter this info onto the Amber Alert website.
Even if the coordinator initially declines to issue an alert, law enforcement can continue to call back with more information until an alert is granted. The KBI teaches law enforcement to “call early and call often,” meaning don’t wait and continue to update.
The next step is to begin sending out messages:
- Emergency Alert System (EAS): A message sent out to broadcasters and stations statewide
- Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA): A message sent out to cellphones and other wireless devices
- Social Media: Posting the alert to the Amber Alert on Facebook and Twitter to notify the public online
Updates will occur periodically after the launch, such as if the suspects and/or child were spotted in a different vehicle.
After an Amber Alert is canceled, the KBI will no longer control the investigation. The law enforcement agencies that had the abduction occur in their jurisdiction will take the lead, possibly along with agencies where the suspects were located and taken into custody. The suspects could face charges where they were found or undergo extradition.
Finally, the alert will be deleted from the Amber Alert website, and all identifying information about the child will then be removed from social media and the media.