What's done before issuing an Amber Alert? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

What's done before issuing an Amber Alert?

When an Amber Alert is issued, you’ll often see them on your cell phone, on TV, and even on billboards. Source: WLBT When an Amber Alert is issued, you’ll often see them on your cell phone, on TV, and even on billboards. Source: WLBT
Melissa Swope, communications sergeant for the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, said local authorities begin the process by collecting basic information about the child, including their name, age, and what they were last seen wearing. Source: WLBT Melissa Swope, communications sergeant for the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, said local authorities begin the process by collecting basic information about the child, including their name, age, and what they were last seen wearing. Source: WLBT
Once first responders collect the information, Swopes said they only have an hour to enter it into the national database. Source: WLBT Once first responders collect the information, Swopes said they only have an hour to enter it into the national database. Source: WLBT
The information is also shared with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which is a division of the Department of Public Safety. Source: WLBT The information is also shared with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which is a division of the Department of Public Safety. Source: WLBT
According to the DPS website, investigators take that information and use criteria to decide whether an Amber Alert should be issued. Source: WLBT According to the DPS website, investigators take that information and use criteria to decide whether an Amber Alert should be issued. Source: WLBT
JACKSON METRO AREA, MS (WLBT) -

When an Amber Alert is issued, you’ll often see them on your cell phone, on TV, and even on billboards.

3 On Your Side visited the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department to find out what’s done before state authorities issue an Amber Alert.

RELATED: Woman charged with kidnapping friend's child after domestic incident

Melissa Swope, communications sergeant for the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, said local authorities begin the process by collecting basic information about the child, including their name, age, and what they were last seen wearing.

“As we’re on the call with the parent or guardian, or whoever we’re speaking with, we are already entering information into the national database,” Swope said. “That way if the child is ran by any law enforcement, they know that the child has been reported missing.”

Swope said it’s important for callers to report a missing or abducted child as soon as it happens and to remain patient with first responders as they will ask several questions in an effort to obtain as much pertinent information as possible.

“A lot of times, we get parents that wait for a couple of hours before they report it and that’s not doing anything but delaying help getting to them,” Swopes said. “You’ll want to remember important details like what the child was wearing, where were they headed when you last saw them, and photographs. Make sure you have a photograph of the child when an officer arrives on the scene.”

Once first responders collect the information, Swopes said they only have an hour to enter it into the national database.

The information is also shared with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which is a division of the Department of Public Safety.

According to the DPS website, investigators take that information and use criteria to decide whether an Amber Alert should be issued.

The criteria include the following:

  • Is the abduction non-parental?
  • Is the abducted individual under the age of 18 or mentally or physically incapacitated?
  • Is there a threat of imminent danger to the child who has been abducted?
  • Is there complete and specific information that could lead to the safe recovery of the child and/or arrest of the suspect?

However, if investigators decide the criteria isn’t met for an Amber Alert, the case will be sent back to local law enforcement. 

Copyright 2018 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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