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DOJ Press Release letterhead

  • TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2011
  • Office of Justice Programs
  • Contact: Kara McCarthy
  • (202) 307-0703


WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today released a new tool to help law enforcement agencies across the country develop strategies to find missing children and adults. The Guide for Implementing or Enhancing an Endangered Missing Advisory (EMA) outlines how law enforcement can notify the public of missing persons cases that do not meet strict criteria for an AMBER Alert, including confirmation that a child younger than 17 has been abducted.

"We've heard from our criminal justice partners that they need a strategy to help them in their searches for missing children who have not been abducted, young people older than 17 who are missing, and adults who are missing and may be endangered due to Alzheimer's or other reasons," said Laurie O. Robinson, National AMBER Alert Coordinator and Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). "I'm pleased that 34 states already have enacted EMA plans, and I believe this new guide will complement the AMBER Alert program and assist those without EMA plans to develop an effective approach to recovering missing children and adults."

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), an OJP component, will distribute the new EMA guide to AMBER Alert coordinators across the country and to other state and local law enforcement partners. Both the AMBER Alert and the EMA programs include an agreement between local law enforcement and broadcasters to issue an urgent bulletin for missing persons; however, an AMBER Alert can be issued only when a case meets specific criteria, such as confirmation by law enforcement that a child younger than 17 has been abducted and is at risk for serious injury or death.

The EMA guide is divided into three sections: (1) developing an EMA plan, (2) activating an EMA, and (3) building and sustaining support for the plan. The guide also features examples of EMA plans, press releases, and case studies of how EMAs have been used to recover missing persons. The guide is available at: The criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert are located at:

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has seven components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Community Capacity Development Office, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at