Colorado Amber Alert Plan

Colorado Amber Alert

The Amber plan is named in memory of nine year old Amber Hagerman. In 1996 Amber was abducted while playing near her Arlington, Texas home. She was later found murdered.

In response to community concern, the Association of Radio Managers, with the assistance of area law enforcement, conceived the Amber Plan to give listeners timely information about child abductions.

In April 2002, Governor Bill Owens of Colorado, signed into law the Colorado Amber Alert Plan Program, House Bill 1083. This bill defined an abducted child and allows for local law enforcement agencies to utilize the Emergency Alert System, EAS, in Colorado for broadcasting specific information to the public.

The bill mandates the Colorado Bureau of Investigation be the liaison between the local law enforcement agency with the case information and the Emergency Alert System broadcasters.

AMBER ALERT CRITERIA

  1. The child must be 17 years of age or younger.
  2. The child must be in immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death.
  3. There must be enough descriptive information to believe a broadcast will assist in the recovery.
  4. The activation must be recommended by the local law enforcement agency to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

THE CDPS/CBI Amber Alert Program Rules/Regulations

The Colorado Department of Public Safety Executive Director is mandated to promulgate rules and regulation regarding the Amber Alert Program pursuant to 24-33.5-415.7.

DEFINITIONS

The definitions provided in section 24-33.5-415.7(2) shall apply to these rules and regulations.

Abducted Child – means a child whose whereabouts are unknown, whose domicile at the time he or she was reported missing was Colorado, whose age at the time first reported missing was seventeen (17) years of age or younger, and whose disappearance poses a credible threat as determined by local law enforcement to the safety and health of the child.

Emergency Alert System – EAS – means a system comprised of radio and television broadcast stations activated by the state emergency alert station. The EAS system, established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is a tool the President and others may use to warn the public about emergency situations. For the purpose of this rulemaking, the EAS system will be utilized for the broadcasting of information related to abducted children.

Amber Alert Broadcast – means an EAS notification containing information regarding an abducted child, the suspected abductor, circumstances surrounding the abduction, suspect(s) mode of transportation and/or direction of travel, and any additional information pertaining to the investigation.

RULES/REGULATIONS/PROCEDURES

CBI-AAP1: A local law enforcement agency, operating under their individual policies and procedures, involving an investigation and upon confirmation of a report of an abducted child, may notify the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and request that the information be conveyed to the bureau for an Amber Alert Broadcast. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation will provide a designated telephone number to be utilized for contacting CBI personnel assigned to assist local law enforcement agencies with the Amber Alert Broadcast. The number will be operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Voicemail messages shall not be left concerning an Amber Alert Broadcast.

CBI-AAP2: The CBI will verify the accuracy of the information based on personal contact with a representative from the law enforcement agency. The verification of information provided by the law enforcement agency will include but is not limited to :

  1. Confirming the identity of the law enforcement agency and the reporting law enforcement official.
  2. Verify that the information being reported meets the definition of “abducted child”.

The CBI will then forward the information on to the State Emergency Alert System Broadcaster for Colorado. The state EAS broadcaster as of June 5, 2002 is radio station KOA, (Clear Channel Communications of Colorado), located at 4695 South Monaco Street, Denver, Colorado 80237.

CBI-AAP3: The state EAS broadcaster shall broadcast all appropriate information that may assist in the safe recovery of the abducted child, and a statement instructing anyone with information regarding the abducted child to contact his or her local law enforcement agency. The alert information may contain but is not limited to:

  1. Victims name and identification information to include last known location.
  2. Suspect(s) name and identification information.
  3. Information involving the suspect(s) mode of transportation to include last known location.
  4. Brief description of events leading to the abduction.
  5. Information directly related to the safety and health of the child.
  6. Information relating to the safety and welfare of the public.

CBI-AAP4: The Alert may be rebroadcast. The frequency of the rebroadcast information may be at the direction of the state or local law enforcement and as additional information becomes available or as investigation circumstances change.

The cancellation of the broadcast shall be the responsibility of the CBI. The bureau will notify the state EAS broadcaster if the child has been found. Any law enforcement agency that locates a child who was the subject of an Amber Alert Broadcast shall notify the CBI personnel assigned to assist local law enforcement agencies with the Amber Alert Broadcast.


The “Act”

COLORADO HOUSE BILL 02-1083 BY REPRESENTATIVES(S) Lawrence, Borodkin, Dean, Garcia, Groff, Jahn, Miller, Romanoff, Scott, Snook, Spence, Stafford, Tapia, Veiga, Weddig, White, and Williams S.; also Senators(s) Gordon, Anderson,Andrews, Arnold, Cairns, Chlouber, Dyer,Entz, Evans, Hanna, Hernandez, Hillman, Isgar, Lamborn, Linkhart, May, McElhany, Musgrave, Nichol, Owen, Pascoe, Perlmutter, Phillips, Reeves, Takis, Tate, Taylor, Teck, Thiebaut, Tups, and Windels.

CONCERNING THE CREATION OF THE AMBER ALERT PROGRAM
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. Part 4 of article 33.5 of title 24, Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read: 24-33.5-415.7. Amber Alert Program.

(1) The general assembly hereby finds that, in the case of an abducted child, the first few hours are critical in finding the child. To aid in the identification and location of abducted children, there is hereby created the Amber Alert Program, referred to in this section as the “program”, to be implemented by the bureau. The program shall be a corrordinated effort among the bureau, local law enforcement agencies, and the state’s public and commercial television and radio broadcasters.

(2) For the purposes of this section, “abducted child” means a child whose whereabouts are unknown, whose domicile at the time he or she was reported missing was Colorado, whose age at the time he or she was first reported missing was seventeen years of age or younger, and whose disappearance poses a credible threat as determined by local law enforcement to the safety and health of the child.

(3) The program shall consist of the following:
(a) A procedure established by rule that a local law enforcement agency may follow to verify a child has been abducted. Once the local law enforcement agency verifies as abduction has occurred, the local law enforcement agency may notify the bureau.
(b) Upon receipt of a notice of a child abduction from a local law enforcement agency, the bureau shall confirm the accuracy of the information and then issue an alert via the state emergency alert system.
(c) The alert shall be sent to the Federal Communications Commission’s designated state emergency alert system broadcaster in Colorado. Participating radio and television stations shall issue the alert at designated intervals as specified in rule.
(d) The alert shall include all appropriate information the local law enforcement agency has that may assist in the safe recovery of the abducted child and a statement instructing anyone with information related to the abduction to contact his or her local law enforcement agency.
(e) The alert shall be cancelled upon bureau notification to the Federal Communications Commission’s designated state emergency alert system broadcaster that the child has been found or at the end of the notification period, whichever occurs first. Any local law enforcement agency that located a child who is the subject of an alert shall notify the bureau as soon as possible that the child has been located.

(4) The executive director of the Department of Public Safety shall promulgate rules in accordance with the “State Administrative Procedure Act”, article 4 of this title, for the implementation of the program. The rules shall include, but need not be limited to:
(a) Procedures for a local law enforcement agency to use to verify whether a child abduction has occurred and the circumstances under which the agency shall report the abduction to the bureau;
(b) The process to be followed by the bureau in confirming the local law enforcement agency’s information;
(c) The process for reporting the information to the Federal Communications Commission’s designated state emergency alert system broadcaster in Colorado; and
(d) Any additional processes concerning implementation of the Amber Alert Program.

SECTION 2. Safety clause.

The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.
By: Doug Dean, Speaker of the House of Representatives
Stan Matsunaka, President of the Senate
Judith Rodrique, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives
Karen Goldman, Secretary of the Senate

Approved: Bill Owens, Governor of the State of Colorado
House Bill 02-1083

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