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Operating Procedures

Local Law Enforcement Agency Procedures

  1. Review the Amber plan checklist to determine whether the abduction meets Amber Alert criteria. If it does, notify the BCA Operations Center and provide requested information. The BCA will confirm the information and issue an Amber Alert via MCAN, and then contact the HSEM Duty Officer to activate the alert via the state Emergency Alert System (EAS).
  2. As additional information becomes available, including photographs, contact the BCA for dissemination.
  3. Upon closure of the child abduction case, immediately notify the BCA.

Media Procedures

As a participating station, you will receive a message from the EAS stating that an Amber Alert has been issued. The details of the alert will be sent via fax and email and posted on the BCA website. Media outlets will receive one alert message unless additional or updated information is obtained by law enforcement. The BCA will send out photographs of the victim to the media as soon as they become available.

Media are encouraged to broadcast the alert at least every 15 minutes for the first two hours and every half-hour for the next three hours. Maximum participation is critical as the abductor may have travelled to a difference area within the first two or three hours of the abduction.

Broadcasting the Alert

Immediately following the tone, the Amber Alert should begin with the phrase, "This is an Amber Plan Alert - please stand by for important information on a child abduction in Minnesota."

The alert should include the following information:

  1. A child has reportedly been abducted
  2. Where the abduction took place
  3. A description of the child
  4. A description of the abductor
  5. A description of the vehicle involved (if any)
  6. The last known direction of travel
  7. To contact 911 with any specific information about the abduction
  8. To contact local authorities with any general information about the abduction
  9. Conclude the alert with the statement that the person(s) who locate the abductor should take no action other than to call the local police as soon as possible and provide them with the information. Updated alerts may be broadcast if new information may assist in locating the abductor and/or child.

Sign up for Amber Alerts

BCA Operations Center Procedures

  1. Upon receiving a call from a law enforcement agency to activate an Amber Alert, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) Operations Center completes an Amber Plan Alert Information Request Form.
  2. The Operations Center then immediately notifies the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent or designee.
  3. The Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent or designee evaluates the request and contacts the investigating agency to determine whether an Amber Alert should be activated.
    • If an Amber Alert is activated, the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent or designee works with the local agency to determine the appropriate telephone number to provide for the public to call with questions. The Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent or designee then directs BCA staff to submit a Crime Alert through the Minnesota Crime Alert Network (MCAN) and contacts the Duty Officer at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) to activate the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent or designee then directs BCA staff to contact the DPS Director of Communications to assist with calls from the media. BCA Operations Center staff maintains contact with the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent or designee, the DPS Director of Communications, MCAN and the investigating agency regarding updates and new information.
    • If an Amber Alert is not activated, the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent or designee determines whether a Crime Alert should be activated. If a Crime Alert is activated, the BCA Operations Center staff completes the MCAN form and distributes it to all participating Minnesota media, law enforcement and businesses.
  4. Law enforcement agencies should contact the BCA immediately if the victim is located or if the Amber Alert should be cancelled for some other reason. After receiving this information and with approval from the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent or designee, the BCA Operations Center issues a Minnesota Crime Alert advising that the Amber Alert has been cancelled.