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What is the criteria to push out an AMBER Alert?

After a recent AMBER Alert was issued in Midland, some have been wondering what it takes to send one out.

MIDLAND, Texas — A 29-year-old man was arrested in New Mexico early Wednesday morning after an AMBER Alert notification informed the public that he had kidnapped an 11-month-old infant.

This marks the third occasion since August 2017 that an AMBER Alert notification was sent out in the city of Midland.

But what exactly constitutes when law enforcement sends out an AMBER alert?

Sergeant Steven Blanco of the Texas Department of Safety says that the general purpose of an alert is to let the public know a child is missing to have them on the lookout.

"The purpose of an AMBER alert is to provide information to the general public to law enforcement to aid in locating either the child or the suspect or the vehicle in the case of that crime or investigation," Blanco said.

Blanco also listed the criteria that a scenario must be under in order to initiate an alert.

For starters, they must meet a certain age limit to be considered a "child." 

"An AMBER Alert applies to those 17 years of age or younger. So for 18, 19 and 20-year-olds, an AMBER Alert is not applied to," Blanco said. "So it has to be a child 17 years of age or younger in order to meet the criteria of an AMBER alert."

Law enforcement also gauge whether or not a child is in immediate danger of harm or death.

"There has to be credible evidence that the child is in bodily danger, as in immediate harm or there is a threat of death or serious bodily injury to the child," Blanco said. "That is an investigation that is done by law enforcement, and that investigation is done by the agency that is investigating the case."

If a scenario meets all the criteria, the law enforcement agency investigating the case will push out an AMBER Alert to the public, which Blanco stresses need to be looked at and acknowledged, because they could help save a life.

"Any time an AMBER Alert is sent out, we ask the public to take it very seriously. I know at times people disable those alerts on their cell phones when they come in or ignore them when they're on their televisions," Blanco said. "We ask the public to always pay attention to the information that is provided by law enforcement or government agencies, especially when we need the public's help, and the public does help, many times, in solving crimes.”

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