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Amber Alert is a cooperative agreement between New Mexico broadcasters and law enforcement. The New Mexico Broadcaster’s Association (NMBA) represents the broadcasters in this endeavor, and they were instrumental in bringing Amber Alert to New Mexico in 1999. The agreement allows law enforcement access to the state’s Emergency Alert System, or ‘EAS’. You may have recently heard tests of this system, either over the radio or on your television. If a law enforcement agency is investigating a child abduction, they can broadcast useful information over the EAS system, with the hope that the public may have seen the vehicle involved or the suspect, for example.
Information for Law Enforcement Officials
Our state has experienced the need to issue an increasing number of Amber Alerts. It is of paramount importance that we, as law enforcement responders, understand the mandated Amber Alert protocol for the timely issuance of an Amber Alert. Information is provided below to assist all New Mexico law enforcement agencies in understanding the protocol to effective response when the issuance of an Amber Alert is needed.
New Mexico state law delegates the New Mexico State Police as the authorized agency to issue a sanctioned Amber Alert. Below, you will find an Amber Alert response checklist for law enforcement and dispatch, along with a list of the criteria which must be met in order for an Amber Alert to be disseminated. Of critical importance in this checklist is the time frame in which the New Mexico State Police is notified. The NMSP should be notified immediately when an Amber Alert is needed. In addition, contact us if you have questions at the beginning of your investigative process. We will assist you in determining if your particular event meets the prescribed criteria.
The NMSP “ Attachment-A.-AMBER-Alert-Form ” which should be entirely completed by the law enforcement agency handling the child abduction and sent to the NMSP public information officer. The PIO may be reached at (505) 827-3349 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The information contained in this form will assist us in ensuring all available details are disseminated.
Once our agency is notified, we must ensure all criteria is met, activate the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, and ensure the media is properly notified and given all available information.
NMSP is also committed to assist in the issuance of a Missing/Endangered Person Alert, Silver Alert, and Brittany Alert. Please contact your local State Police dispatch if there are questions about the issuance of any of these alerts. We are happy to be of service to your agency in disseminating any of the above alerts.
Amber Alert FAQs
How does it work?
770 KKOB Radio, owned by Cumulus Communications, is the designated ‘state primary station’ for the Emergency Alert System. They are at the ‘top’ of the information pyramid if you will.
Every radio and television station in the state that is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is required to monitor their EAS equipment.
The agency investigating the abduction can call 770 KKOB Radio, and record a message for broadcast over the EAS (if that agency has entered into an agreement with Citadel Communications).
770 KKOB Radio will then broadcast the message over the EAS. Essentially, a statewide broadcast of the Amber Alert will occur.
There are stringent rules as to when an ‘Amber Alert’ may be broadcast. This helps alleviate false alarms and over-use of the system.
What are the criteria for an amber alert?
There must be evidence of a non-family OR custodial abduction; Of a child 17 years of age or less; and, There must be specific information concerning the abductor and/or child, which would prove useful to the public in hopes of recovering the child; and, There must be reason to believe the child in is imminent danger of bodily harm or death.
Who is currently participating in the state amber alert program?
The following agencies, listed below, have entered into agreements with Citadel Communications to issue Amber Alerts through the EAS system:
Albuquerque Police Department
Albuquerque Fire Department
Aztec Police Department
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department
Bloomfield Police Department
Farmington Police Department
Gallup Police Department
Lea County Sheriff’s Department
New Mexico State Police
Rio Rancho Public Safety Department
Sandoval County Emergency Management
Santa Fe Police Department
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department
U.S. Air Force, Kirtland A.F.B.
What if my local law enforcement agency is not participating?
County and city law enforcement agencies are encouraged to participate in Amber Alert. They can participate in one of two ways:
Develop and implement their own plan, or
Utilize the New Mexico State Police as their point of contact to issue Amber Alerts for them.
Realizing that smaller agencies may not have the resources to effectively implement their own Amber Plan, as a matter of state law and Department of Public Safety Policy, the New Mexico State Police will issue an Amber Alert for ANY agency investigating an abduction. Of course, the above criterion must be met. Efforts undertaken by law-enforcement agencies during the initial stages of a missing-child report may often make the difference between a case with a swift, successful conclusion and one evolving into months or even years of stressful, unresolved investigation.
State Police now offer a 2 hour class entitled, Child Abduction Response and Amber Alert. The class covers:
- Initial tasks when responding to the missing child/abduction call.
- Investigative steps to enhance response and timely entry of information into NCIC.
- Long term investigations.
- Parental abduction/custodial interference.
- Overview of the Amber Alert criteria and activation process.
- Overview of the Endangered Persons Advisory recently passed by the legislature which went into effect July 2007.
If your agency is interested in this training, contact:
What is the state law concerning amber alert?
Governor Richardson signed into law House Bill 16, creating an Amber Alert Law in New Mexico. The law became effective upon his signature, which occurred April 1, 2003.
The law requires the New Mexico State Police to develop and implement a “state-wide” Amber Plan.
Agencies that already have their own Amber Plan are not affected by the legislation.
Aside from an EAS broadcast, the law also requires the State Police to do the following:
Notify all law enforcement agencies in New Mexico of the Amber Alert (this is accomplished through NMLETS [New Mexico Law Enforcement Telecommunications System]).
Provide the information to the Radio Communications Bureau (RCB) of the General Services Department. The RCB provides radio dispatch service to all state government entities outside of the Department of Public Safety.
What other resources are used for amber alerts?
The State Police policy mandates the following four resources be utilized when an Amber Alert Occurs:
- EAS broadcast (state law)
- Notification of ALL law enforcement (state law)
- Notification of GSD/RCB for re-broadcast (state law)
- Broadcast to ALL N.M. lottery terminals (policy)
Any of the above resources are available to ALL law enforcement agencies in New Mexico, regardless of the existence of their own Amber Plan. The State Police can also employ the following resources:
MissingKids.org – This is a free, web-based resource where missing person flyers can be made, distributed, and printed.
National Weather Service – The State Police has access to the radio infrastructure maintained and operated by the National Weather Service. Actual Amber Alerts can be broadcast over their network.
Missing Person Information – The DPS serves as the Missing Persons Information Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is a central repository on missing persons and shall be used by all law enforcement agencies, including tribal agencies, in New Mexico.
Again, these resources are available to all law enforcement agencies, regardless of their participation in a local Amber Plan.
Where can I get more information about missing and/or exploited children?
Missing Persons – The New Mexico Missing Persons Information page.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – tons of useful information for both law enforcement and parents.
NMDPS Amber Alert page– Our policy, the New Mexico law, and other useful resources.