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Amber, Silver or Blue — special public alerts you should know

Most of us have heard about Amber Alerts. Have you heard of Silver or Blue alerts? Do you know the difference and when should you use them? Do you know what the requirements are to have them activated? Do you know how information is disseminated? Do you know what to do if you see a person who has an alert? Do you know if the programs are successful? Read on for the answers.

All the programs simply ask for the community’s help in locating individuals missing or abducted by calling 911 with any information. The police only ask that you notify them immediately if you locate an individual. They do not want you to put yourself in any type of danger by trying to “rescue” a child from the abductors. 

Requirements for an Amber Alert are pretty straightforward: The child must be under 18 years old; a belief that an abduction has occurred; and the child is in imminent danger. Since Amber Alert’s inception, law enforcement agencies have had tremendous success: 924 children have been located using this program. Silver Alerts have similar requirements: The missing person must be more than 65 years old and the family has tried every other way to find him. Also, the person must be in imminent danger due to health conditions.

Your local police department would be the proper agency to notify if you need to use the systems. They will activate the proper type of alert and ensure all the requirements are met. After gathering all the information, the police department will send it out to the community on highway signs, cellular phones, radio and through other police agencies. The police ask that you call immediately with any information. 

Due to the huge success of the two programs, Blue Alert was created. This is for officers who have suffered a very serious injury and the suspect is not in custody and may pose a danger to the community. Do not attempt to confront an individual on a Blue Alert. Call 911 immediately and provide any information you can.

FROM THE BENCH: Amber, Silver and Blue alerts help protect our children, senior citizens and police officers by letting us know what to keep an eye out for. Do your part by reading the alerts and calling 911 with any information.  

Judge Watts’ web page is