LOUISIANA (KLFY) — An Amber Alert is an effort between law enforcement and broadcasters used as an investigative tool with the goal of helping locate an abducted child. An Amber Alert is not sent in every missing child’s case, so what are the criteria for one to be issued in Louisiana?

‘Amber’ is an acronym for ‘America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.’ Though it’s a national effort, there is not one, unified plan nationally. Each state operates differently, and some states even have different plans on a regional or metropolitan level. There are over 100 plans in the country, and many operate independently of the others, according to the Louisiana State Police (LSP) website. The Louisiana Amber Alert plan is statewide and became operable in October of 2002.

There are specific criteria for what cases illicit an Amber Alert. The following must be met before an Amber Alert is activated:

  • 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.

LSP says that the Amber Alert plan is not the following:

  • the only resource to be utilized
  • applicable to every situation
  • for every missing child
  • designed for custodial conflicts

Since the inception of the Amber Alert system in Louisiana, up to June 30, 2021, there have been 19 Amber Alert activations for Louisiana children. In each of those cases, the child was successfully and safely located.

Louisiana’s Amber Alert Plan can only be activated upon authorization by the LSP Amber Alert Coordinator, or their designee, and only if the situation meets the criteria. It will be used only for serious child abduction cases, and it will not be used for runaway or most parental abduction cases unless the circumstance is proven to be life-threatening to the child.

Louisiana Amber Alert Reporting form submittals will be accepted from a law enforcement agency only.