Criteria For An Amber Alert - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Criteria For An Amber Alert

Posted: Updated:

KENNEWICK, Wash. - Wednesday, we told you about an Amber Alert in Auburn, Washington that was later canceled because it didn't meet the criteria. Thursday, we asked the question - What is the criteria?

When police, sheriff's deputies, or state troopers are looking for a missing child, they want to get as much help from people on the street as possible. But not every missing child case qualifies as an amber alert.

The child must be under 18 years old, and believed to have been abducted. Authorities must also believe the child is in danger of death or serious bodily injury. Finally, there must be enough descriptive information available to believe an Amber Alert will help find the child.

State troopers said its important to stick to the standard.

"Potentially, if we do this too often, and we misuse the system, people will lose faith in the system, and kind of ignore it. We don't want that to happen, which is why we have that criteria," said Lt. Jay Cabezuela, Washington State Patrol.   

State troopers said to be effective, an Amber Alert needs to be issued within about 4 hours after the child is missing.

But sometimes information used to issue an Amber Alert changes, and to protect the system, they call off the alert.