Amber Alerts are vital to finding missing North Dakota children

Since 2004, there have been 8 Amber Alerts issued in North Dakota. All have been successful except one. It’s a tool that’s vital in these urgent situations. Shelby Rose explains what all goes into that little message that pops up on your devices.

Losing sight of your child, it’s a nightmare no parent wants to be a part of. But if it happens to you, the first thing to do is call 911. 

“You should start providing us with information. What was your child wearing, give us a physical description, where they were at, any people that possibly could have abducted that child, as much information as you can provide,” said Lieutenant Mike Roark with the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

And any photos of the child can be especially useful. But before an Amber Alert is issued out, certain criteria has to be met. The abducted child needs to be 17 years old or younger. Confirmation by law enforcement that the child is in grave danger, and an accurate description of the child, the abductor, and the suspect vehicle.

Lt. Roark added, “The highway patrol will notify our law enforcement officers as well. What we do is we come down to the Department of Emergency Services, and we’ll help coordinate law enforcement activity.”

Here, multiple agencies work together to issue out this alert by the Emergency Alert System – or EAS. The message will appear on television, cell phones, and billboards across the state.

“The division of homeland security coordinates with other state agencies to get the message out and send the EAS message along with any other messaging,” said Eric Upton, a planning specialist with the Department of Emergency Services. 

Statistics show that 74% of children found murdered died within the first 3 hours of abduction. So, its especially important everyone gets involved. 

“What makes these amber alerts successful is the cooperation of the public and their active participation. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible,” said Lt. Roark.

The last time North Dakota issued out an Amber Alert was in 2016 at the request of Montana’s law enforcement.

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