AMBER Alert History


January 13 – Amber Hagerman abducted and murdered.

January 27 – Local radio listener from Arlington, Texas, Diane Simone, wrote a letter to KDMX 102.9 FM suggesting that the Emergency Alert System be used during child abduction cases to get the word out to the community so they can assist in the search.


The Dallas/Fort Worth Association of Radio Managers teamed up with local law-enforcement agencies in northern Texas to develop the AMBER Plan – an innovative early warning system to help find abducted children.


July 5 – first activation of the AMBER Alert. The child was later found drowned in a creek.


November 10 – first AMBER Alert success story involving Raye Lee Bradbury. This case gained national exposure and prompted local law enforcement agencies from around the country to call Arlington Police Department for advice on setting up their own AMBER Plans.


September 14 – First statewide AMBER Plan implemented in Oklahoma.


National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) decided to promote and implement the AMBER program across the country.

August 3, 2000 – NCMEC hosted an AMBER Alert forum at its headquarters in Alexandria, VA to gather ideas on how the program should be executed nationwide. Representatives from various communities already using the AMBER Alert system attended the forum to give advice.

August 30 – Florida implemented a statewide AMBER Plan.

October 24, 2000- the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 605, urging all communities to implement the AMBER Plan to expedite the recovery of abducted children.


February 23, 2001 - NCMEC started advocating that the Federal Communications Commission add an “Abducted Child” event code to the Emergency Alert System to make it easier for communities to activate the AMBER Plan. Ernie Allen spoke before the FCC’s National Advisory Committee Meeting.

March 8 – Arkansas implemented the Morgan Nick Alert, now known as the Morgan Nick AMBER Alert.

June 19 – Michigan implemented a statewide AMBER Plan.

October 24 – On the five-year anniversary of Amber Hagerman’s abduction and murder, NCMEC launched its AMBER Plan campaign to promote the program across the country. A training kit, including a manual and video for both law enforcement and broadcasters was developed and provided upon request free of charge. NCMEC designated AMBER to stand for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. At this time, there were 27 programs across the U.S. –four are statewide including Oklahoma, Florida, Arkansas and Michigan. Sixteen children have been saved by the program – 9 children from Dallas, 3 children from Houston and 2 children from Florida.


January-July – 9 states implemented a statewide AMBER Plan.

March 18 – The Federal Communications Commission ruled to adopt a new Child Abduction Emergency Code (CAE) to be used within the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

August 1 – Tamara Brooks and Jacqueline Marriss were abducted in Lancaster, CA at gunpoint. They were successfully recovered because an animal control agent saw the AMBER Alert and reported a vehicle sighting to law enforcement. This case, along with many other successful recoveries during the month of August, captured the attention of law enforcement, broadcasters, citizens and government officials across the country, and put the AMBER Alert program on the map.

August-December – 19 more states implemented AMBER Plans before the end of the year.

October 2 – At the first White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children, President George W. Bush instructed Attorney General John Ashcroft to appoint a National AMBER Alert Coordinator within the Department of Justice. This position was appointed to the Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Justice Programs. The president also urged Congress to pass legislation making these provisions law.

November 13 - A local AMBER Alert program, called Child Rescue Alert, was launched in Sussex, England with the help and support of NCMEC. Three more local Child Rescue Alert programs have been developed in England since.

December 2 – Albert was the first province in Canada to launch an AMBER Alert program. They had come to visit NCMEC to learn how AMBER Plans in the U.S. work. All Canadian provinces now have AMBER Alert programs.


January-December – 15 states implement a statewide AMBER Plan.

April 30 – President Bush signs the Protect Act into law. This comprehensive child protection legislation created a national AMBER Alert system, which the U.S. Department of Justice would oversee.

August 3-5 – The first National Training Conference of AMBER Alert is held in Dallas, Texas, which AMBER Alert coordinators, broadcasters, and other AMBER Alert stakeholders from around the country attended.


January-February – two more states develop statewide AMBER Plans.

NCMEC determined that 252 AMBER Alerts were issued throughout the United States in 2004.


March 1 – NCMEC, at the direction of DOJ, creates the AMBER Alert Secondary Distribution system, through which AMBER Alert messages can be sent to national corporate partners, who in turn geographically disseminate the Alert message to customers or employees.

May 11 – NCMEC and the wireless industry team up to create Wireless AMBER Alerts, an initiative through which cell phone customers can request to receive AMBER Alerts activated in their areas via a text message to their mobile device.


January 13 – The U.S. Department of Justice held an AMBER Alert Awareness Day ceremony on the 10-year commemoration of Amber Hagerman’s abduction and murder. NCMEC was presented with an award for the creation of the AMBER Alert Secondary Distribution system. The U. S. Postal Service also unveiled the new AMBER Alert stamp.

July 13 – To date, NCMEC has determined that 278 kids have been recovered. There are a total of 116 AMBER Alert plans across the U.S. including 52 statewide, 27 regional and 37 local.

April 6 - To date, the AMBER Alert program has been credited with the successful recovery of 329 children!