There are different alerts from law enforcement to notify the public whenever someone goes missing or if a suspect is on the run after attacking an officer. 

California’s emergency notification operation goes through the California Highway Patrol, Emergency Notification and Tactical Alert Center, which runs the Amber, Silver and Blue Alert Systems. 

Here is a breakdown on what the alert systems are and when they’re activated. 

Amber Alert

The America Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert is used to notify the public whenever a child is abducted. 

Here’s when an Amber Alert is activated, according to the CHP:

  • Confirmation that an abduction has occurred or a child was taken by anyone, including, but not limited to, a custodial parent or guardian
  • The victim is 17 years of age or younger, or an individual with a proven mental or physical disability
  • The victim is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death
  • There is information available that, if disseminated to the public, could assist in the safe recovery of the victim

According to the California Highway Patrol, the Amber Alert is part of a nationwide plan and is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and media broadcasters. 

The national Amber plan was developed in 1996 after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted and murdered near her home in Arlington, Texas, the CHP said. 

The CHP says to call 911 immediately if you witness a child abduction. When reporting to officers, the CHP said to be prepared to provide a location of the abduction, description of the child and suspect and the make, model, and color of any vehicle involved. The CHP also asked to provide a license plate number if possible. 

Silver Alert

A Silver Alert is used to notify the public when an elderly, developmentally or cognitively-impaired person has gone missing and is determined to be at-risk. The CHP said this alert provides immediate information to the public to assist in the recovery of the missing person. 

Here is when a Silver Alert is activated, according to the CHP: 

  • The missing person is 65 years old or older, developmentally disabled or cognitively imparied
  • The investigating law enforcement agency has utilized all available local sources
  • The law enforcement agency determines that the person has gone missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances
  • The law enforcement agency believes the the person is in danger because of age, health, mental or physical disability, environment or weather conditions, the person is in the company of a potentially dangerous person, or other factors indicating that the person may be in peril
  • There is information available that, if disseminated to the public, could assist in the safe recovery of the missing person

If you locate a person who has been identified as missing, the CHP said to immediately call 911 to report their location and make note of their direction of travel and description of their vehicle if any vinvolved. Like the Amber Alert, officers asked to provide a description of the vehicle should be the make, model, color and license plate number if possible. 

Blue Alert 

A Blue Alert is used when a violent attack on a law enforcement officer has occurred and authorities are searching for the suspect. The CHP said this alert provides immediate information to the public to prevent further harm and aid in the apprehension of the suspect. 

Here is when a Blue Alert is activated, according to the CHP: 

  • A law enforcement officer has been killed, suffers serious bodily injury, or is assaulted with a deadly weapon, and the suspect has fled the scene of the offense
  • A law enforcement agency investigating the offense has determined that the suspect poses an imminent threat to the public or other law enforcement personnel
  • A detailed description of the suspect’s vehicle or license plate is available for broadcast
  • Public dissemination of available information may help avert further harm or accelerate apprehension of the suspect

If you see a Blue Alert suspect, the CHP said to immediately call 911 and provide their location, description, and the make, model, color, and if possible, their license plate if any vehicle is involved. 

Newsoms signs “Yellow Alert” into law   

A new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on July 20 will make it easier for authorities to track down drivers who were involved in a hit-and-run. 

The law would allow the CHP to activate a “Yellow Alert,” which means several freeways in a designated area would light up with a license plate or description in the hopes that other drivers will look out for the vehicle. 

The legislation was introduced by Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, and it will go into effect in January 2023. 

‘Feather Alert’ bill is introduced

On June 28, tribal leaders and state representatives announced the creation of Assembly Bill 1314, which would help protect against violence to Native Americans, particularly women and girls. 

Assemblymember James C. Ramos, D-Highland, introduced the bill, and said the legislation would create an Endangered Missing Advisory system when Native Americans are at risk. 

The notification is currently deemed as the “Feather Alert,” which would notify the public and media when a person goes missing under suspicious circumstances. The “Feather Alert” would go through the CHP.