Over a decade ago, local radio stations enlisted the help of law enforcement officials to create the AMBER Alert program after the kidnapping and brutal murder of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman. What began as a local effort in one town has become a nationwide system of voluntary broadcast alerts, enlisting the entire community in the search and recovery of abducted children. At the end of 2001, only four states had statewide AMBER Alert plans.
On August 30, 2002, Governor John Hoeven issued an executive order directing the North Dakota Highway Patrol, in cooperation with the Division of Emergency Management, State Radio and other state agencies, to implement a statewide AMBER Alert system by January 1, 2003. AMBER Alert Planning meetings began the summer of 2002 with the first statewide test of the N.D. AMBER Alert plan on February 6, 2003. Statewide functional testing of the plan continues to occur annually.
In addition, testing of the State Emergency Operations Center Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment, used to initiate AMBER Alert broadcasts, takes place weekly with a test of the alert tone signal; and monthly testing of the tone signal, voice, TV and radio media broadcast of a test alert.
The media database for distribution of the AMBER Alert Media Advisory to all media outlets within the state, internet companies, surrounding states and Canadian provinces, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), telephone companies, utility companies, and Federal and private transportation authorities is tested and updated bi-monthly.
Activation of the N.D. AMBER Alert plan has occurred on four occasions with safe recovery of the reported children in three of the instances:
Meetings take place before and after each functional exercise, with additional after-action meetings after each activation. These meetings ensure needed updates or procedural changes are incorporated into the state plan and tested.
- March 4, 2004 - Rolette County
- October 15, 2005 - Burleigh County
- May 22, 2006 - City of Minot
- July 6, 2010 - Regina Saskatchewan, Canada
In addition officials involved in continued development and updates to the plan attend regular regional and national AMBER Alert conventions and workshops designed to enhance state plans, as well as provide training to law enforcement and dispatch personnel.
For further information about this program, please visit the ND AMBER Alert website.
Planning Specialist/AMBER Alert Plan Coordinator
Fraine Barracks Lane - Building 35
PO Box 5511
Bismarck, ND 58504
Toll Free: 800.773.3259